Metascore
70

Generally favorable reviews - based on 38 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 33 out of 38
  2. Negative: 1 out of 38
  1. Reviewed by: Shawn Levy
    Sep 8, 2011
    83
    The film is enthralling, even as the tale becomes more and more dire, with scores of millions dead and societal upheaval imminent. The circumstances depicted in Contagion are terrifying, but the power with which the film is made blends the horror, as only the best art can, with beauty.
  2. Reviewed by: Alison Willmore
    Sep 8, 2011
    85
    Contagion's restraint is marred by one element - Alan Krumwiede, the San Francisco-based activist blogger played by Jude Law, a conspiracy theorist who wields claims about uncovering the truth like a blunt instrument intended to menace.
  3. Reviewed by: Dan Jolin
    Oct 17, 2011
    80
    A starkly effective ensemble drama which could well do for the sniffles what Jaws did for great whites.
  4. Reviewed by: David Denby
    Sep 12, 2011
    80
    Contagion is serious, precise, frightening, emotionally enveloping.
  5. 70
    Like much of Soderbergh's recent work, Contagion feels a little sterile, more like a cinematic exercise than something with blood pumping through it. It's certainly high-minded - it might be the most high-minded disaster movie ever made.
  6. Reviewed by: Forrest Wickman
    Sep 10, 2011
    80
    If Contagion is a "horror movie," as Soderbergh has described it, then you can think of it as the most believable zombie movie ever made.
  7. Reviewed by: James Berardinelli
    Sep 10, 2011
    75
    Contagion is the best movie made to date about an epidemic/pandemic.
  8. Reviewed by: Peter Rainer
    Sep 10, 2011
    75
    The irony of this film is that it's all about how we need to come together to conquer a calamity that pushes us apart.
  9. Reviewed by: Andrew O'Hehir
    Sep 9, 2011
    90
    A chilly, fascinating thriller at odds with itself.
  10. Reviewed by: Lou Lumenick
    Sep 9, 2011
    75
    Arriving two days before the 10th anniversary of 9/11, Steven Soderbergh's Contagion is a serious all-star thriller about the rapid worldwide spread of a killer virus that's easily the scariest of the disaster films that have followed the attack.
  11. Reviewed by: Michael O'Sullivan
    Sep 9, 2011
    50
    Plays less like a conventional medical thriller - think "Outbreak" - than like a dramatic reading of a "Nova" episode, performed by Hollywood's elite.
  12. Reviewed by: Joshua Rothkopf
    Sep 8, 2011
    80
    The rush of A-listers combined with apocalyptic dread creates its own kind of dizzy pleasure: Who's going down next on this Poseidon Adventure?
  13. Reviewed by: J.R. Jones
    Sep 8, 2011
    80
    Soderbergh's treatment of the Internet turns out to be the most provocative aspect of Contagion. Like the virus, which destroys any cell it encounters, misinformation spreads rapidly online and tends to cancel out information that might save people.
  14. 75
    Contagion isn't meant to provide delicious roller-coaster chills. Released two days before the 10th anniversary of 9/11, it's a film meant to scare the bejesus out of us.
  15. Reviewed by: Mick LaSalle
    Sep 8, 2011
    75
    A film for anyone who enjoys an intelligent thriller, but for illness phobes this movie is a special pleasure in that it presses all the right fear buttons even as it validates a very particular vision of reality.
  16. Reviewed by: Claudia Puig
    Sep 8, 2011
    63
    While potent and well-paced, Contagion doesn't come together as the fearsome bio-thriller it starts out to be. But it may make audiences twitchy about the guy coughing in the next row.
  17. Reviewed by: Lisa Schwarzbaum
    Sep 8, 2011
    83
    Here's a scare-the-crap-out-of-you medical thriller about a viral pandemic that will have the immediate post-screening effect of causing a handwashing stampede.
  18. Reviewed by: Manohla Dargis
    Sep 8, 2011
    80
    Soderbergh's smart, spooky thriller about a thicket of contemporary plagues - a killer virus, rampaging fear, an unscrupulous blogger - is as ruthlessly effective as the malady at its cool, cool center.
  19. Reviewed by: Kenneth Turan
    Sep 8, 2011
    70
    This may not fit any conventional definition of entertainment, but it certainly keeps your eyes on the screen.
  20. Reviewed by: Peter Travers
    Sep 8, 2011
    63
    The film is most riveting in its early scenes, when Soderbergh's digital cameras locate germs everywhere – don't touch those peanuts!
  21. Reviewed by: Wesley Morris
    Sep 8, 2011
    75
    As a filmmaker Soderbergh requires nothing more of us than a willingness to enjoy ourselves. He had fun. Why shouldn't we? With Contagion, the fun begins with a cough.
  22. Reviewed by: Steven Rea
    Sep 8, 2011
    75
    By the time this globe-hopping, movie-star-crammed disaster saga - directed with petrifying efficiency by Steven Soderbergh - comes full circle, you'll never want to touch a subway pole or elevator button or ATM again.
  23. Reviewed by: Joe Neumaier
    Sep 8, 2011
    40
    There's a sense of dread in Contagion, but it never spreads to us. When Day 1 is finally shown, it makes you want to eat better, which isn't the same as saying this is a great movie.
  24. Reviewed by: Michael Phillips
    Sep 8, 2011
    75
    He's the anti-Michael Bay, the un-Roland Emmerich. No fake-documentary "realism" here; Soderbergh values the silence before the storm, or a hushed two-person encounter in which one or both parties are concealing something.
  25. Reviewed by: Connie Ogle
    Sep 8, 2011
    75
    Contagion may be the most expensive public-service ad ever filmed, but it's also a surprisingly light-on-its-feet action thriller.
  26. Reviewed by: Lawrence Toppman
    Sep 8, 2011
    75
    Though the movie short-changes us emotionally, it delivers a credible, disheartening picture of greed and panic.
  27. Reviewed by: Marc Savlov
    Sep 8, 2011
    40
    Contagion is certainly the most realistic portrayal of a global pandemic I've seen, but that doesn't make it the most entertaining, or even all that intellectually interesting.
  28. Reviewed by: Keith Phipps
    Sep 7, 2011
    75
    Soderbergh creates an unnerving mosaic from the smaller pieces, a vision of a world that's simultaneously tightly knit, delicately balanced, and prone to breakdown, whether due to disease, bad ideas, or unenlightened self-interest.
  29. Reviewed by: Roger Ebert
    Sep 7, 2011
    75
    One aspect of the film is befuddling. Alan Krumwiede (Jude Law) is a popular blogger with conspiracy theories about the government's ties with drug companies. His concerns are ominous but unfocused. Does he think drug companies encourage viruses? The blogger subplot doesn't interact clearly with the main story lines and functions mostly as an alarming but vague distraction.
  30. Reviewed by: Roger Moore
    Sep 7, 2011
    63
    There is little urgency to this spiraling disaster. Soderbergh has made a lot of noise this past year about quitting directing and taking up a less collaborative, more solitary pursuit - painting. This is an anti-social painter's movie. Millions are dying, but he doesn't care that much. So why should we?
  31. Reviewed by: Bill Goodykoontz
    Sep 7, 2011
    80
    All are good, Damon in particular, but there are so many of them we don't see anyone for very long at one stretch. And all are given at least some bad material to work with before the movie is over. For the most part, they make the best of it.
  32. Reviewed by: Ed Gonzalez
    Sep 7, 2011
    38
    A germophobe's worst nightmare, Contagion touches on all the dramas big and small, mostly big, we've come to associate with catastrophes such as this, and does so as if it were hurriedly going down and adapting a list of bullet points, never lingering on any one drama in a particularly meaningful fashion.
  33. Reviewed by: Karina Longworth
    Sep 6, 2011
    80
    If Contagion truly is the first leg of Soderbergh's retirement victory lap, this harrowing film is a potent reminder of what we stand to lose.
  34. Reviewed by: Rex Reed
    Sep 6, 2011
    63
    I found Contagion both flawed and fascinating, but it's not an entertainment.
  35. Reviewed by: Pete Hammond
    Sep 6, 2011
    80
    This is Steven Soderbergh at his best delivering a gripping, chilling and powerful movie experience that will have audiences talking (and freaking out).
  36. Reviewed by: Richard Corliss
    Sep 5, 2011
    70
    For a good hour, a very good first hour, the film efficiently accumulates small, terrifying incidents and images.
  37. Reviewed by: Todd McCarthy
    Sep 5, 2011
    70
    The pressure cooker plot calls for intense performances all around but first among equals are Winslet and Ehle.
  38. Reviewed by: Peter Debruge
    Sep 4, 2011
    50
    Without fully rounded characters, it's hard to care who lives or dies in what amounts to an extended procedural on how disease prevention organizations might respond to such a scenario.
User Score
6.5

Generally favorable reviews- based on 355 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 84 out of 140
  2. Negative: 31 out of 140
  1. Oct 1, 2011
    5
    Totally average in every way. No character development whatsoever. The most developed character in this film was "the government", and youTotally average in every way. No character development whatsoever. The most developed character in this film was "the government", and you know they are always the bad guy. And that whole thing with Lawrence Fishburn made no sense whatsoever. It's like they may have had something in the first cut, but then they had to cut the movie down to 2 hours. As a result, the audience was left with nothing to attach itself to, except the virus. Full Review »
  2. Sep 19, 2011
    5
    A real disappointment, given a good director and such a good cast. Just very mediocre all the way around, starting with a premise that hisA real disappointment, given a good director and such a good cast. Just very mediocre all the way around, starting with a premise that his been done before (Outbreak, The Andromeda Strain), but those films showed more imagination and established more compelling relationships between the characters. It's good filmmaking, but not a great story. Full Review »
  3. Sep 9, 2011
    2
    This is a sorry excuse for a movie. There is no character development whatsoever and other than people dying from an unexplained virus thereThis is a sorry excuse for a movie. There is no character development whatsoever and other than people dying from an unexplained virus there is nothing much going on. There are more plot holes that Carter has little liver pills. There isn't one character in this movie that you even remotely care about it. The Government is always the bad guy no matter what. Matt Damon the star picked up a nice check but exactly for what I have no idea. If anyone can tell my his job occupation I sure would like to know. Full Review »