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3.4 out of 5 stars
3.4 out of 5 stars
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on 23 October 2014
Okay. So in light of the recent Ebola outbreak I just had to rewatch this and I found it quite chilling. This is not your typical Hollywood zombie film, or some other sci-fi epidemic film that infects and possesses people or tuns them into some kind of monsters. Contagion is a film that tries to be realistic in terms of science and medicine, and presents a worst-case pandemic scenario that could actually really happen - if not now, then surely sometime in the future. It shows the fragility and worst enemy of a very inter-connected world, which is the chances for a localized disease to spread across all borders. It also emphasizes how brittle our society is, and how things like this could lead to the complete breakdown of society as we know it, not to forget a global stockmarket collapse and with it, put hundreds of millions of people out of work who, being city-dwellers, obviously do not know how to survive off the land and thus end up turning to crime, looting and violence to establish a new survival-of-the-fittest hierarchy.

What makes the film of interest is the manner in which it portrays scientists and the spread of conspiracy theories during a crisis. Refreshingly, the film comes down solidly on the pro-science end of things; unlike so many other movies that use the stock "evil scientists" personae who cause a disaster due to "playing God" or "researching things man was not meant to know," the scientists in Contagion are ultimately the heroes, developing a working vaccine that ends the pandemic. When they act in a manner that puts people at risk, it is not out of malice, but because they either lack the information they need to do the right thing, or (in one case) because they want to protect their loved ones. They are chiefly good people who simply don't know what to do in the beginning, and their goal is to figure out what they should do and respond accordingly.

The anti-science characters meanwhile engage in deceit in order to push their own agenda and ultimately make themselves rich. This is exemplified with Jude Law's character, Alan Krumwiede. Alan is essentially a Hollywood version of real world radio hosts like Alex Jones, a blogger with an inflated ego who spouts various unsubstantiated allegations about the pandemic, including claims that it was genetically engineered to wipe out most of the human race. His pet theory, however, is that the disease can be cured via a homeopathic remedy that he is promoting (just like various real world bloggers do - see "naturalnews.com"), and making millions off of, through his blog, going as far as to pretend to be sick so that he can "cure" himself with the drug and create false hope among his loyal followers. All the while, he tells people not to get the vaccine for the disease (again, a common thing promoted by real world quacks), claiming that it will make them even sicker. At one point, he goes onto national television and accuses the CDC director (Fishburne's character) of suppressing research into his alternative remedy in order to allow Big Pharma to make more money with their vaccines. Fishburne counters that they have already tested it just to be safe, but (unsurprisingly) got negative results. The film ends with him barely dodging a prison sentence for the fraud he committed, and he winds up discredited and ranting at people who are in line for vaccines.

As expected, for daring to depict alties as anything other than holy and for not giving the CDC and the WHO devil horns and a pitchfork, some of the usual types among the internet are claiming that this film is a Big Pharma/NWO/what-have-you propaganda piece.

Which makes it doubly entertaining. A 4, out of 5 stars.
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Contagion is the story of a viral-outbreak and the ensuing global response. Praised by critics and those in the know for it's abject realism and realistic portrayal of CDC responses and WHO procedure. It follows CDC employees Dr Erin Mears (Winslet) & Dr Cheever (Fishburne) as they try to find the source of this virus in the ensuing chaos of quarantines and travel-restrictions. Meanwhile, internet blogger Alan Krumwiede (Jude Law) says he has the cure to the disease - a homeopathic remedy that the masses go crazy for, but does he hold the answer or is he just another false-prophet?

This is Soderbergh's attempt at an ultra-realistic portrayal of a pandemic, it follows multiple people through the throes of infection to the people around them and how humans actually react when faced with the death of their loved ones. Some deal with it stoically, some panic whilst others cheat & steal to protect their own. The cast is filled with stars (Damon, Paltrow, Fishburne, Winslet, Law, Cotillard to name the majority) that all portray their roles within this thriller with great aplomb. Literally no-one is open for ridicule here, I was enthralled for the duration as it deals with weighty issues such as mass-hysteria, crowd-mentality and how political bias corrupts procedure (Congressmen being evacuated in CDC planes instead of staff etc). It's not an easy film to make but it had me captivated from the off.

I personally think this will divide it's audience, you are either going to love the realism, or get bogged down by it, and there really is no middle-ground. I found it refreshing in many respects and a truly novel film (28 Days Later, this ain't) that doesn't dramatise this highly plausible concept. Thought-provoking, terrifying in it's possibility and well-acted throughout. Highly Recommended!!
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on 20 March 2012
I'm not going to go into this and write a large well rounded review as there are other reviews that do this, im just going to give you the main point this film comes down to.

I sat through the whole film and enjoyed it, it wasn't what i'd call thrilling or exciting but was enjoyable and felt realistic for an event that could actually happen. As a result the end of the film came and an on set of "is that it" dawned on me. This didn't ruin the film for me but it leads me to my main point, as someone interested in science who studied this sort of thing at A level it was a very entertaining and had a very documentative feel to it. You feel like you learn how easily something like this can spiral out of control and is very much entertainment for those of an academic nature and a nice surprise for others.

As a result if your a film buff looking for exciting plotlines and stories you'll probably be dissapointed with it generallly. The acting seems to focus on realism for the situation but theres nothing to exciting about it as the story doesnt really call for it. This isn't another disaster movie for action/thriller fans, If however you take an interest in science, media, medical, Disaster planning or just generally enjoy to broarden your mind then this is deffinately worth a go.
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on 24 January 2017
For what it is, this is well enough executed - but I'm a bit unsure just why it was made at all.. The cast all seem to do their stuff well enough - and the list of participants is quite impressive, with some big names given hardly anything to do with a limited number of appearances. There's several story lines dotted here and there in various takes on the hows and wheres of how a virus comes from the "wild" into the human pool of available hosts - with millions of deaths resulting. None of this is news - we've lived through several of these usually very overstated events already, when the most drama resulting's been from the (apparent) over-reaction of the authorities and the media.

This movie's too diverse, too splayed apart. While the individual scenes are mostly well enough executed, what they add up to is - a biggish question in my mind, harking back to the first line of this skimpy review - ie "why make it?" I normally write much longer reviews about movies, particularly if they're outstandingly good or bad - but this one? Meh...
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on 19 January 2017
It was indeed a pleasure to see this realistic movie on a spreading viral illness that is potentially fatal. I am a medical practitioner who had the opportunity, in recent times, of seeing the evolution of a viral illness that has taken hundreds of lives in the middle east - the MERS-CoV virus (Middle East Respiratory Syndrome - Corona Virus).

The movie progressed from day 0 to day 131+ of the developing and then resolving pandemic. The real heroes are the scientists themselves, working out of the CDC and the WHO, among other agencies. The devolvement of the same totally captivates the viewers. All the actors have given a very good performance. Thanks to the actors as well.
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on 17 January 2017
Unlike most "Outbreak" films which glamorise and sensationalise the hell out of this topic, Messing up the science, removing most of the "boring" or non telegenic aspects of the facts of treating an epidemic and glossing over the totaly "selfish" "greedy" and "Stupid" aspects of human nature to show humanity as honorable working together, this film shows as close to reality as possible without filming an actual "1918 flu" style mass epidemic.
This shows the Politics, greed, irresponsibility of the media and the general panic of the public toward a crisis like this with the Public Health Services of the CDC and the WHO working despite this to find a vaccine in time to save as many people as possible.
Stellar cast, Writing and direction make this a compelling and chilling enactment of what generaly might actualy happen if something like this was to occur.
I will not say anything else about the film as I do not want to spoil the film for you in any way.
This film is definetly worth a watch if you like good thrillers.
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on 27 July 2013
The opening of the movie reminds me of "12 Monkeys" were a world wide epidemic is started by a person in an airplane. I really enjoyed the "geek" aspect of the movie as those who look at the virus infection do so from a logical, mathematical, scientific aspect as one might expect. We also have the personal aspect of people dying from the infection and their stories and of course the reporter/blogger who gets no respect. (My title is a line from the movie and is not to be considered my personal opinion.)

As you can imagine, the virus structure is unique, it travels rapidly, and the body doesn't know how to handle it. Fortunately it has a short incubation period and acts like typical viruses, i.e. not spreading in colder environments. The movie centers on isolating infected people and trying to figure out the origin of the disease. It also deals with the more mundane aspects such as the specifics of burials, quarantines, irrational thinking, and big pharmaceutical companies. In doing so it jumps around a lot, with numerous subplots and no real central character. I believe this is done to give the audience "the feel" of the mobility of the virus, and world panic and not because the film director and editor are idiots. The movie also deals with the legal question of limits of "free" speech.

I would classify the movie as sci-fi drama.

No f-bombs, sex or nudity.
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on 18 March 2012
Contagion follows an all star cast (Matt Damon, Jude Law, Kate Winslett, Lawrence Fishbourne (to name but a few) during the outbreak of a deadly virus which rapidly spreads across the world, killing 1 in 4 who it comes into contact with.

When I purchased this movie, I was expecting "28 Days Later" or similar but actually the feel for this movie is very different. Its focus is clearly on realism - with every scene feeling like it is something which could really happen were the situation real. It closely follows both the CDC/WHO response to the virus, as well as the families of some of the key victims. The biggest positive about this movie for me is that it was implemented very well - it didn't try to make the government look like heroes as you often get in movies like this (the president is hiding in his bunker and the helicopters are being used to fly around politicians instead of rescuing ground workers) and equally it doesn't try to damn them (e.g. Members of the CDC get kidnapped and killed during the infection trying to help others). For me this was realistic and gave a balanced view of some of the things that would be likely in such a situation and this movie does that well throughout.

<The next two paragraphs contain spoilers - Skip to final paragraph to avoid>

The tag line for this movie is "Nothing spreads like fear" and that is something else the movie tackles cleverly, Jude Law's character plans a failing journalist who's passion is blogging and takes the virus as an opportunity to win himself millions of followers by spreading fear, paranoia and revolt against the CDC - and of course millions follow him, many ending up dying because they follow his instructions on a bogus herbal "cure" instead of awaiting the government vaccination programme. The contrast between how many people died through just bad luck in catching the virus and how many people let fear drive them to their own death was clear.

Despite these things, the mixed reviews on Amazon for this movie didn't really surprise me. When the movie ended I groaned a little because it just wasn't what I expected - the last thirty minutes of the movie see one of the lead doctors try a vaccine on herself and strike it lucky first time - which I found hard to believe. And the movie wraps itself up quickly after that and didn't really follow through much on how the vaccine would be distributed, despite making quite a big deal over the fact that only a few countries had the formula for it and were busy hiding it away throughout the movie - why not make the movie a bit longer and tackle the distribution globally a little more?

I must admit though, despite not being thrilled with the ending I did find this was a film that I went away and thought about afterwards and as I did I found my opinion of it kept getting better. It is in fact an unexpectedly "real" account of what could happen in a real pandemic and despite a few dramatic jumps seeming too convenient, it does a really good job of making you think about what a situation like that would be like, how it would be handled and more interestingly how you would react. I'd recommend you give it a go, just don't set your expectations for a "28 Days Later" type movie and you won't be disappointed.
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on 9 January 2016
Really enjoyed this well crafted film. Acting is great by the best, slow in parts but I think it's well worth telling every one to leave you alone till you have watched it. Sit back and soak it up. Love the ending. The subject matter is handled to perfection, showing how so easy it is for this mean mother to get from a to b, then to the world. It's happened before, that's the scary thing, are we ready for the next one. I hope so, it's already begun.
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on 17 December 2016
Well it kept me watching until the end but ultimately I was disengaged from the film. The story portrayed about the global spread of a virus seemed realistic, but I couldn't see the point of various big-name stars popping in and out for cameo roles in sometimes pointless plot lines, I really didn't care about any of the characters. More like a dramatised documentary than a feature film.
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