Movie Point Of Lou – Contagion
I don’t know what it was… Be it all the panic about the Coronavirus outbreak, or my total love of Tom Clancy’s “The Division” video game series, but while scrolling through movies on Amazon, I happened to stumble across a movie I didn’t even know existed. Released in 2011 (yeah I know that’s forever ago, but hell if I didn’t know it existed you might not either) and armed to the teeth with an all star cast, “Contagion” is a terrifying look at how quickly a virus can spread around the globe and the devastating effects it can have on our way of life.
It starts so simply, with a phone call and a cough. That is the first indicator that something is wrong. Beth Emhoff (Gwyneth Paltrow) traveled to Hong Kong on business, and on the way home had a layover in Chicago where she engaged in an extramarital affair with her ex. A few days later she is dead, and a few days after that, so is her young son. Soon cells of sick people start cropping up in various locations around the globe, the death count is low at first, but rising, and while the C.D.C, and W.H.O (World Health Organization) struggle to not only figure out not only WHAT this new virus is, but also HOW it is transmitted, the number of sick and dying continue to rise exponentially around the globe. Martial Law is declared, quarantines are implemented, and F.E.M.A. springs into action setting up field hospitals to help care for the sick as hospitals are overrun. Society of course breaks down as panic sets in. Looting, rioting, violence, all the normal things you would expect to happen in the face of a pandemic of this scale happen in spades.
It’s all very “by the numbers” and the progression of the movie is exactly what you would expect. From that first cough, to the development of the eventual inoculation “Contagion” hits all the beats, from conspiracy theorists spreading misinformation, to hedge fund managers looking to see how they can profit off of all the death, coupled with the ubiquitous government cover ups and information suppression, director Steven Soderbergh leaves no trope behind. But perhaps that is “Contagion’s” strength, while it doesn’t take any chances, it more than taps into that primal fear we ALL have when it comes to something like this: that something so small can lay waste to our society, and we may be powerless to stop it despite all our knowledge and all our technology.
Until Netflix and Ubisoft get their announced “The Division” movie off the ground, I am officially considering “Contagion” the Prologue to that series. Will I watch it again??? Yes… will it become a permanent part of my movie rotation??? No, I honestly don’t think it’s a movie that you need to see more than twice, but that doesn’t mean it’s bad, it just means you’ve seen it all before, and you will again. Movies like this are evergreen as the themes they present are universal. So if you (like me) enjoy watching society laid low at the hands of a virus rest assured that you will enjoy your 2 hours with this movie, just don’t expect your mind to be blown.
Until Next Time Everyone,
Be Good To Your Fellow Nerd,