Feature

Contagion

Steven Soderbergh’s latest all-star thriller tracks the spread of a deadly virus through the human population.

Directed by Steven Soderbergh

***

“The most terrifying movie of the year is not about zombies or aliens,” said Connie Ogle in The Miami Herald. It’s about “truly scary things,” like ATMs, handshakes, and water fountains. Steven Soderbergh’s latest all-star thriller, featuring Gwyneth Paltrow, Matt Damon, Jude Law, Kate Winslet, Marion Cotillard, and Laurence Fishburne, tracks the spread of a deadly virus and moves “almost as quickly” as the killer bug itself. From the moment an offscreen cough marks Paltrow as the epidemic’s Patient Zero, the stars aren’t afforded “room to do much acting,” said David Edelstein in New York. Because of its sheer fleet-footedness, the movie “feels a little sterile, more like a cinematic exercise than something with blood pumping through it.” But The Towering Inferno and The Poseidon Adventure didn’t need carefully drawn characters, and neither does this 21st-century disaster flick, said Mick LaSalle in the San Francisco Chronicle. Contagion doesn’t transcend itself,” but in an age when diseases really can leap within hours from a Hong Kong peanut bowl to a Chicago tryst, it doesn’t need to. “It’s just a smart, entertaining experience, which is enough.”

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