Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Wednesday Movie Night: Side Effects (2013)

With hits like the Ocean's Eleven and Ocean's Twelve along with others like Contagion and Magic Mike, it seems that Steven Soderbergh rounds up the big names for his movies, and usually gives them an intricate script to work with. Side Effects is one of his stronger movies that has his very characteristic yellow color cast to the movie tone, and with lots of angles. He builds the suspense well and has a lot of twist you don't see coming.

Summary:  You would think Emily would be overjoyed and happier than ever when her husband returns from home from a few years spent away in prison. Instead her mental health declines rapidly to the point where she is having anxiety ridden break downs, and sickness. Her psychiatrist, Jonathon, insists that she take a new drug on the market that might be able to help her since the other drugs have failed so far. After trying the drug though she gets the worst of the side effects forcing Jonathon to probe into her life and past therapy sessions to try to save his own career from her reaction to the drug.

Acting: I think everyone in the movie shows some of their best acting. You can feel the panic, and no one has to over act to feel it. Rooney Mara is one that is proving she has a bit of longevity in her career, as long as she can keep from going the Wyonna Ryder path. Maybe it's just me but she just seems like a more hardcore Ryder. She does well as the perplexing Emily in this movie who is a rather frightening character all about herself. Channing Tatum is Emily's husband, Martin. He isn't in the movie the whole way through, but Tatum is making smarter choices about characters he plays, but  there isn't much in this role to show any acting abilities. Jude Law is the character you will feel for most but also see the faults easily in making him the most human as Jonathon. The choices he makes will make a person very conscious themselves as well about the consumption of prescription they take.  Catherine Zeta-Jones is a good actress who hasn't picked the most memorable roles of recent, but she is great as Emily's former therapist, Victoria.

Filming: The filming has a lot of Soderbergh characters especially those found in his recent movies like Magic Mike or Contagion. The shots are very intense, sort of yellow cast, and there is just an artsy texture to the whole movie. For this movie I think it really helps because it does increase the amount of anxiety you feel as a viewer when Emily is having an episode. It also builds a lot of suspense to the twist. The twist are well woven in so they aren't so in your face, but you get what is happening as well.

Plot: The plot seems to be something that is a common theme for some movies I've seen of recent, and that is those dealing with drugs and the side effects they have. Of course, the movie doesn't play out anything like you'll expect when you first come into watching it, but I assume Jonathon is going to be much more careful hopefully about the choices he makes handing out drugs to patients. I haven't saw a movie in a while that has kept me on edge like Side Effects though.

Side Effects is one of the stronger movies I've seen so far this year. It is a fresh script that doesn't mind pulling the punches to keep you intrigued, but you do do still get a character to cheer on even if he probably could have prevented this with smarter choices. It just ends up making him human. All the characters seem to be enjoying their parts as well, and just as involved in making the movie work.

Rating 8 of 10.

Side Effects (2013) on IMDb

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