Director: Steven Soderbergh
Writer: Scott Z. Burns
Stars: Rooney Mara, Channing Tatum, Jude Law
What they say: From Academy Award-winning director Steven Soderbergh (Traffic) comes this suspenseful and provocative tale of intrigue starring Channing Tatum, Academy Award nominees Rooney Mara and Jude Law, and Academy Award winner Catherine Zeta-Jones. After her husband (Tatum) is released from prison, Emily (Mara) begins suffering from terrifying anxiety and turns to psychiatrist Dr. Banks (Law) for help. But when Banks prescribes an experimental drug for her, the side effects have chilling and deadly consequences. Full of unexpected twists, Side Effects is the sexy psychological thriller that critics are calling “wildly unpredictable!” (Marlow Stern, Newsweek)
What I say: It’s pretty rare that a mainstream film tackles a subject like depression. Now I don’t mean what most people think depression is, I mean real depression and anxiety. This film really does a fantastic job of portraying depression and the effects it has on those around you and as someone who has suffered from depression in the past, this is appreciated. With that out of the way, how does this thriller stack up? And is it worthy of being director Steven Soderberghs final film?
The film opens with up in a luxury apartment with a trail of blood leading up to a present sitting on a chair. We then jump back three months and we find Emily Taylor, a young woman who has been alone for the last four years while her husband has been in prison for insider trading. His release leads to depression and anxiety for Emily as she has to readjust to her old life and worry about her husband slipping up again. Emily becomes more and more despondent and eventually attempts suicide. This act brings her to Doctor Jonathan Banks. Banks has recently applies to help test a new depression drug and he sees Emily as the perfect test subject. Working with another therapist, the experiment begins. Emily seems to do better at first and then things take a dark and disturbing turn. Now Dr. Banks finds himself in the midst of a public firestorm over medications and the doctors responsibility in prescribing them.
The film is well acted and directed. Everybody does a fine job, especially Jude Law. The story however takes a couple of big narrative leaps to move the plot along but over the plotting is pretty tight. The Blu-Ray look great and the transfer is gorgeous.