Movie Review: Contagion

Frani O’Toole Staff Writer Rated PG-13 Starring Gwyneth Paltrow, Matt Damon, Marion Cotillard, Kate Winslet, and Jude Law Directed by Steven Soderbergh Contagion is infectious to any moviegoer. By the middle of the movie, it will have you questioning if the lady at the concessions counter touched your popcorn, or even the strength, perseverance, and compassion of the human race. The plot focuses on a pandemic that is spread by contact. It’s first victim, Beth Emhoff (Gwyneth Paltrow), contracts it while on a business trip to Hong Kong. Shortly afterwards, she travels home to Minneapolis with a layover in Chicago where she meets an old boyfriend and inadvertently helps the virus begin to ravage our city. The scenes of Chicago crumpled by the disease are Rahm Emanuel’s worst publicity nightmare. In fact, most of the movie was actually shot in Chicago and the surrounding suburbs. In Elgin, Illinois, I actually had the great fortune of meeting Gwyneth Paltrow and Matt Damon, who plays Beth’s husband in the movie, while they were filming a scene supposed to be set at the Mayo Clinic in Minneapolis. But enough about our city, because, after-all, this movie focuses on a worldwide pandemonium about a disease that, by the middle of the movie, has killed millions of people. Shortly after Beth comes home, she and her son die from the disease. Her husband, Mitch (Damon), who also is infected but survives, is left in shock. News of the disease soon reaches the Center for Disease Control (CDC) and officials rush to find a cure. Human pragmatism and empathy is tested when millions become infected and die in a matter of days. Bloggers such as Alan Krumwiede (Jude Law) fuel the panic with conspiracy theories and greedy, charlatan cures. Now leaders must work to not only remedy the pandemic, but also quell the growing anarchy and disillusionment threatening to unravel our diseased, contaminated, and weakened society. The Latin community has had mostly positive feedback, calling it “suspenseful”, “realistic” and “thoughtful”. However, some complain that the plot is “not plausible” and “not likely to happen.” The director does a terrific job portraying the capability of the contagion, and it’s potential to infect anything it is exposed to. The acting, though not exceptional, was believable, and actress Kate Winslet, who plays a CDC employee, did a particularly convincing job. The script was knowledgable, the writer obviously payed attention in his freshman Biology class (Mr. Kim would be impressed), and could explain the complicated situations with ease and understanding. I strongly recommend seeing this movie, which will definitely leave you wanting to quarantine that man next to you who coughed a couple times during the film.]]>