Feature

Side Effects

A prescription drug unleashes unforeseen damage.

Directed by Steven Soderberg
(R)

***

With the film he says will be his last big-screen release, director Steven Soderbergh has made a “sleekly constructed noir” that reminds us “just how few smart genre films are being made these days,” said Chris Barsanti in Film Journal. Rooney Mara and Channing Tatum star as a New York City couple whose life of mood modifiers and post-crash unemployment looks sadly familiar until a crime is committed. Then the story shifts to a psychiatrist, played by Jude Law, who must explain why he prescribed what he did for Mara’s character. Soderbergh, at 50, has obviously become impatient with traditional narrative, said David Denby in The New Yorker. But while it’s no surprise that Side Effects “begins as one kind of movie and ends as something entirely different,” we expect such an artist to take more joy in his creations. Still, Mara is perfect as the story’s unknowable woman, and Soderbergh has at least chosen a genre that rewards cynics like himself with the endings they want, said David Edelstein in New York magazine. If this is his final film, “he leaves the field with a bounce in his step.”

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