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Nothing spreads like fear
Member Name: carlz2001uk
Advantages: Cast, story, effects
Disadvantages: Should have been a 15
Having a look on Sky the other night, I couldn't find anything I was in the mood for watching so decided to look on Sky Box Office and saw Contagion was available to rent. I rented it straight away as it was a film I had wanted to see at the cinema but just hadn't got around to seeing it. Although I didn't know too much about the film other than it followed an epidemic, I was impressed by the cast. The film wasn't what I was expecting, it was a brilliant watch.
The film follows Beth Emhoff (Gwyneth Paltrow) on a business trip to Hong Kong where in the very start of the film she begins to feel unwell. It doesn't follow each character for long, and you are soon introduced to several other fairly well known actors and actresses all who have a different role to play in the epidemic. Matt Damon's character Mitch Emhoff is married to Beth and as the death toll rises around the world into the millions, Mitch strives to protect his family and keep them safe from the disease as well as the looting and violence that follows it. The film is as much about the looting and break down of society as it is the epidemic, and it is frightening yet fascinating to see how low people will go in order to protect themselves and their families. I always find films like this fascinating as you can't help but think about what you would do if the situation were to ever happen for real.
The effects and acting in this film are fantastic. When people contract the illness, they feel generally unwell with flu like symptoms until they begin to convulse and fit. The actors that were doing this in scenes were so convincing, and one of the main characters also pulled it off with ease, which I was rather impressed at as I didn't actually think they could act before this film!
Without giving too much away about this film, I can't really explain much more about it, but the concept is interesting. It follows the epidemic in days and begins with 'day 2', day 1 is right at the end of the film and makes the whys and how's make much more sense. It is interesting to see a little in to the World Health Organisation and how they would cope and provide strategies for countries, rather than just showing people contracting the illness.
One thing I will say about the film, is that it is rated a 12, which I think is too low. It should have been a 15. There are some fairly graphic scenes including the autopsy of one character and people fitting and dying from the disease including a child of around 10. I found this would have been quite traumatic for a 12 year old but what do I know?!
Laurence Fishburne, Kate Winslet and Jude Law also star in this film adding to the already impressive cast of Matt Damon and Gwyneth Paltrow. All play integral roles and don't disappoint. Jude Law plays an interesting character who is basically a conspiracy theorist, Kate Winslet is a doctor and Laurence Fishburne is her boss.
Interesting fact: To promote this film, Warner Bros. built two giant Petri dishes treated with bacteria and fungi and set them to a shop window in Canada. Over several days, the bacteria and fungi specimens grew to spell out the name of the film and form biohazard symbols.
A really interesting film that shows how the world would cope in the face of a pandemic of a disease which they can't see and which there are no known vaccinations to prevent or cure it. A very good film, with a very good cast. Recommended.
Run time: 106 minutes.
Summary: 5 stars