Having strangely loved classic pandemic film 'Outbreak' in the past, I was extremely excited for 'Contagion' a film seemingly dealing with the same issues, but with a much more diverse and modern take.
~~~THOUGHTS ON PLOT~~~
After a business trip to Hong Kong, Beth Emhoff (Gwyneth Paltrow) becomes ill and subsequently dies. The unknown disease starts to spread all across the world and a pandemic strikes.
What will Beth's husband Mitch (Matt Damon) do to protect his daughter? What are the doctors (Kate Winslet, Marion Cotillard) willing to sacrifice in order to find the origin and the cure? And what does one influenza blogger Alan (Jude Law) think about the whole thing?
The film starts on Day 2 of the virus and from then the pace is extremely pacy with our first casualty in minutes. With the large ensemble cast, the film focuses on many different angles of the pandemic: a family man, a selfless doctor, a WHO officer, a blogger... this diversity and broad perspective gives this film a refreshing light.
These individual characters also provoke an emotional attachment and I found myself rooting for several of them throughout; wanting them to prevail, wanting them to live. What makes this film also great is that it is not afraid to kill of the cast and throws you off by doing so.
Unlike 'Outbreak', this film's strengths lie in the realism of the situation which is to praise, but lacks action and tension. Despite it being strong in the emotion aspect (I found quite a few scenes quite emotionally evocative) it could definitely do with a bit more action.
As the film reached it's climax, I found the pace confusingly jump here and there and the closure for such seemingly apocalyptic virus seemed convenient, quickly glossed over. That said, the endings to each character's story is well tied up and the final scene showing Day 1 of the virus beautifully book-ended the movie.
With films like this, it is easy to get sucked into the plot holes, scientific flaws and inaccuracies, and inevitably, this film will have errors, but that aside, it was a solid movie that kept you thrilled and entertained both emotionally and mentally.
Gwyneth Paltrow- Beth Emhoff
Matt Damon- Mitch Emhoff
Kate Winslet- Dr. Erin Mears
Jude Law- Alan Krumwiede
Marion Cotillard- Dr. Leonara Orantes
Also stars Laurence Fishburne and Elliott Gould.
Unfortunately, A-lister Gwyneth Paltrow's character Beth dies within minutes of the film's start, but she delivers a genuine and shocking performance despite her short screen time. The main cast all delivered a great performance which was emotive and genuine.
'Contagion' is a strong portrayal of life during a pandemic from a range of characters' perspectives. Whilst this is only loosely a thriller, it is fantastic in delivering emotional stories and captures a surprisingly heartwarming message of love, dedication and sacrifice a midst devastating times.