Wow. I loved this movie. It’s bleak and hopeful at the same time. The beauty of it is in the steady pace. The stories are criss-crossed from character to character, all dealing with an unknown virus that’s spreading through the human population. Each story touches another, but not in the expected way. Everyone is just living through it, well, mostly, and we are watching it happen. There is some camera fanciness here and there, and some artsy presentations of certain moments, but overall it’s very straightforward visually. It has a grayness about it, but that’s to be expected with the subject matter.
The music is awesome with the tension and a touch of sadness mixed with enough hopefulness to make a great accompaniment to the story. The story, while I’m on the subject is pretty clear from the title. A contagious virus has become a threat to humankind. It’s not a new idea, of course, so let’s get over that. The thing that makes this movie special is the delicate but acute way the subject is handled. With subtle and excellent performances by everyone on the screen I felt a connection with almost all of the characters. Jude Law is fine with me, but that guy he played was not at the same level of being worthy of compassion or understanding. I can’t put my finger on why precisely, but it’s got to do with the kind of annoying personality traits this guy has. I think that’s on purpose, but it made him the weakness in the movie.
There is a compelling element to the end of human life, for some reason. I mean, the concept that something can and probably will wipe us out some day. If it’s because we are too close to each other physically, well, I guess there are worse ways to go. The ideas that mingle with social, economic, cultural, political, personal, intimate and on top you put the potential for extinction in a very ugly way, from disease, it becomes something I can’t take my eyes off of even if I try.
The reality that the people who work with contagious diseases on this planet are at the forefront of keeping us alive is a strong theme in this movie. I appreciate that. It’s a thankless job and I hope this reminds people that when we get a cough and go to the doctor followed by a shot or pill that gets rid of that cough, well, some of the process that made that happen was because of the medical people who track down, study, and find ways to control unfriendly germs .
I enjoyed the movie so much. It might sound weird to enjoy a movie about millions of people dying of a very contagious disease, but that’s a credit to the writers, director, cast, music makers, set designers, everyone involved. It’s a great movie that I would recommend to many people for many different reasons.
- The Reality Of Contagion – An 11 minute featurette where the stars of the movie comment on how this movie could leak into real life.
- The Contagion Detectives – A 4 minute piece that examines the agents this movie actually focuses on.
- Contagion How A Virus Changes The World – A small informational video done in the 1950’s public announcement style.
Cover Art and Menus: /10
I dig the cover, but not as a poster. It’s bold and the yellow does put the idea of viral something or other, ick. Usually I don’t like the stars’ faces shoved on the cover, but this one comes together in a less obnoxious way for some reason. The menu is standard, so not much to say about that..
Audio & Video: 9/10
Soderbergh uses the REDONE camera to give Contagion that high definition look that most of today’s movies have. This is quite an intimate film (even with a budget of 60 million to play with) and it comes across like the slickest fly on the wall documentary you have ever seen. Colors are pitch perfect and there are no signs of crush or noise in the image. If your looking for a great looking Blu-Ray for 2012 this is a great start.
The DTS-HD Master Audio track is punctuated by a great electronic score that really sets the tone of the film. The rest of the movie is talky as you would expect and despite sounding a little thin in parts really comes alive during scenes involving crowds. A scene where a crowd try to get rations from the back of a military vehicle really envelopes you making you feel overwhelmed. Don’t expect much from your sub woofer during Contagion though.
Contagion is good quality entertainment. It’s thought provoking and dramatic in a way that makes it a memorable movie watching experience. I say it’s worth around $17 if you can find it for that price it make a good addition to your movie shelf .
Overall Score 9/10