The CDC and government officials around the world work hard to
contain a global pandemic as people start dying from a respiratory virus.
Directed by Steven Soderbergh
Written by Scott Z. Burns
Starring Matt Damon, Laurence Fishburne, Kate Winslet,
Marion Cotillard, Jude Law, Gwyneth Paltrow,
Bryan Cranston, Chin Han, Enrico Colantoni,
Jennifer Ehle, Sanaa Lathan, Anna Jacoby-Heron
Unless you've been living on the moon for the past three years, you'll know that we can hardly classify this film as sci-fi anymore, can we? It actually happened. We lived through it. We're still living through it. While the mortality rate of COVID-19 was nowhere near that of the Contagion virus, there is still a dark realism surrounding this film now that it didn't have back in 2011. I was hesitant to even watch it because I saw it happening on the news for three years. But I'm glad I did, because I know for certain that Hollywood grossly overestimates the intelligence and decency of politicians and healthcare officials around the world. In truth, we all just sort of ignored it and hoped it would go away.
This film has an epic ensemble cast and a terrifying score that sounds like something John Carpenter would compose. We've got Matt Damon as an immune everyman trying to keep his daughter alive, Laurence Fishburne as the CDC doctor trying to keep people from rioting, Kate Winslet as the poor CDC doctor who dies trying to get answers, Jude Law as the conspiracy theory wingnut who profits off suffering, Marion Cotillard as a French doctor who is kidnapped in Hong Kong for vaccines, and Gwyneth Paltrow as patient zero. Everyone does a great job really selling the global catastrophe and possible apocalypse vibes that Soderbergh was going for.
Contagion is one of the few sci-fi films that actually came true, which is a real bummer. Why couldn't we get Star Trek instead of a pandemic that's killed millions? It's still a good movie. Very tense, very well-acted. But I understand why people may want to bury it. It's too realistic now, but at the same time, it's unrealistic in how we respond to the virus. I leave it up to you.