User Score
7.8

Generally favorable reviews- based on 336 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Negative: 17 out of 336
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  1. Apr 23, 2013
    5
    A murder mystery film is something that has grown out of fashion in Hollywood as of late due to the plethora of procedurals on TV at the moment. However Steven Soderbergh uses this murder mystery template as a biting critique of the pharmaceutical industry, its just he didn't put as much thought into the story he was telling and because of this Side Effects is really quite dull. WhenA murder mystery film is something that has grown out of fashion in Hollywood as of late due to the plethora of procedurals on TV at the moment. However Steven Soderbergh uses this murder mystery template as a biting critique of the pharmaceutical industry, its just he didn't put as much thought into the story he was telling and because of this Side Effects is really quite dull. When Emily's (An extremely wooden Rooney Mara) husband Martin (Channing Tatum) is released from prison she seeks help for her depression from psychiatrist Johnathon Banks (Jude Law) and the drug he prescribes her has unforeseen side effects leading to a dangerous conspiracy filled with murder and lies. The main problem with Side Effects isn't the slow, and I mean really slow story, its that the film follows a lead character who is so badly acted its not even funny, it goes past the realm of unintentionally hilarious and becomes horrific. For an actress like Rooney Mara to go from marvelous in The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo to this bad is shocking. Luckily the film swaps protagonists at the halfway point in favour of the brilliant Jude Law who proves yet again that he and Soderbergh work well together (after his gripping turn in Contagion in 2010). While Mara maintains her presence in the film the tone shifts when the story changes making for a much more engaging, more intelligent final act. That being said the film is filled with plenty to praise even with the Mara mistep. For example its casting is pretty great, except for the obvious. Catherine Zeta Jones proves why she is an Oscar winner with a small but vital supporting role, one made for her. Channing Tatum impresses with his small role too (much like he did in Soderbergh's Haywire). However the film suffers terribly by the pacing of the story and the fact the film is intentionally split into two. The fact that you can notice the split is because the first section is painfully dull and is extremely heavy handed with its social commentary. The second half lays back on the politics in favour of developing the central mystery and because of this it is enjoyable and at times surprising. It also doesn't hurt that Jude Law is on a role in terms of performances as of late making it slightly disappointing that he is part of a film that is only really half cooked. Expand
  2. Jun 8, 2013
    8
    Great thriller by Soderbergh, with another great turn by Rooney Mara, one of the more talented young actress around. It has a timely topic (i.e. are we relying on psychiatry and pills too much these days?) and twist them into a noir-ish thriller for the modern ages. I won't say too much in this review as it will spoil its surprises, but I highly recommend this, one of the Director's bestGreat thriller by Soderbergh, with another great turn by Rooney Mara, one of the more talented young actress around. It has a timely topic (i.e. are we relying on psychiatry and pills too much these days?) and twist them into a noir-ish thriller for the modern ages. I won't say too much in this review as it will spoil its surprises, but I highly recommend this, one of the Director's best effort in years. Expand
  3. May 8, 2013
    6
    A recent cinema-going of SIDE EFFECTS, hyped as Soderbergh’s last theatrical release picture (what’s the hell with the BEHIND THE CANDELABRA’s Cannes screening?), it unites 3 Soderbergh’s regulars with a fresh new leading lady Rooney Mara, grapples with a suspicious somnambulistic murder case under the side effects of prescribed drug influence.

    Opening with a PSYCHO-tribute
    A recent cinema-going of SIDE EFFECTS, hyped as Soderbergh’s last theatrical release picture (what’s the hell with the BEHIND THE CANDELABRA’s Cannes screening?), it unites 3 Soderbergh’s regulars with a fresh new leading lady Rooney Mara, grapples with a suspicious somnambulistic murder case under the side effects of prescribed drug influence.

    Opening with a PSYCHO-tribute craning-and-tracking shot outside a residential building, patiently zooms in on one of the monotonous windows and reveals the blood stain left on the carpet (without notifying neither the perpetrator nor the victim), then jumps back to a 3-months-earlier flashback, Soderbergh certainly has his artistry in his stylish camerawork, and equally superb in dragging his audiences into the hazy mind state of Mara’s character, and keeps it captivating and seething with uncertainty and angst, blurs the boundary between truth and lies, steers its sharp point bluntly towards the pharmaceutical industry.

    Up until then, all the suspenses have been fully elicited, one can sense there is something fishy about the case, and the film shunts to another direction, with a fast pace of elucidation the crime hidden behind, a shopworn procedure but it is requisite for pandering to solve all the question marks inside viewers mind, the scheme our wronged shrink to turn both sides against each other is amateurishly exercised, which could be screenwriter Scott Z. Burns’s incapability to round out the story or Soderbergh is never a talented story-teller, if only the twist had been more scrupulously sanded down and the perpetrators’ motive and interplay (say, the insider trading part) should be more well-founded, even it finally reaches a feel good ending for the audience, the aftertaste is not totally satisfactory.

    Anyhow the film owns a killer cast (except someone who really should learn from Julianne Moore in CHLOE 2009, 7/10 how to kiss a girl), Rooney Mara has a unique distanced coolness in her blood which distinguishes her from the usual Hollywood cloyingness, and it does benefit her for meatier (especially with those have ambiguous attributes) offers and she is on her mettle in the film, versatile between her conflicting facets during the different phases. Jude Law, recollects his leading-man-ship in the film, a pro-medicine shrink with a sleuth acuity, also receive a welcome back, a tailor-made character, and he fits it with such ease. Channing Tatum sidesteps from the limelight this time whereas his Mr. Nice Guy image has been further amplified this time, don’t know it is a good thing or not.

    If this is Soderbergh’s swan song (or penultimate one), it doesn’t forebode well since it is an audience-courting film rather than his own auteur-seeking venture, if not, I will keep high hopes in his next projects (even if it means a long hiatus).
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  4. Apr 8, 2013
    5
    I had high expectations towards this movie due to its high rating, but after watching, it totally disappointed me. The movie has a good plot, but it is too boring, draggy and it contains too many irrelevant scenes which should not be displayed. It lacks impacts or emphasis on scenes, which failed to attract my attention enough. It could've been better. Credits to the casts; especiallyI had high expectations towards this movie due to its high rating, but after watching, it totally disappointed me. The movie has a good plot, but it is too boring, draggy and it contains too many irrelevant scenes which should not be displayed. It lacks impacts or emphasis on scenes, which failed to attract my attention enough. It could've been better. Credits to the casts; especially Rooney Mara. But it's just not enough to make up to give credibility to this movie. Expand
  5. Sep 2, 2014
    6
    Certainly not Soderbergh's finest work to date, Side Effects stretches far longer than it should. A close look at mind-play and criminal complexities, it lacks in convincing.
  6. Feb 14, 2013
    9
    “Side Effects” is a movie, well, about side effects to prescription drugs. However, that’s just on the surface. When you delve deeper into this psychological thriller, it becomes more about the side effects to different choices we make, whether it be positive or negative. The effects it has on us and the ones around us. It is a fairly thought provoking film that let’s us take a look into“Side Effects” is a movie, well, about side effects to prescription drugs. However, that’s just on the surface. When you delve deeper into this psychological thriller, it becomes more about the side effects to different choices we make, whether it be positive or negative. The effects it has on us and the ones around us. It is a fairly thought provoking film that let’s us take a look into corruption.

    Steven Soderbergh is a great director, but his biggest complaint maybe that he takes a while to get his movies going. He takes his time to set stuff up, but rewards you at the end with a psychological mind *beep. The attention to detail is commendable, but at times certain things feel a bit contrived. However, when everything starts coming together, it all starts making sense and you can’t help but wonder why you didn’t see it before. The writing is top notch, but the dialogue is all to memorable. The shots are inventive, but feel classic Soderbergh, who always has unusual artsy camera angles. At the end of the day, it is a thought provoking and engaging story. Acting from the entire cast is fantastic. Rooney Mara gives a stunning performance. She has little quirks that make her character enthralling to watch. However, the biggest scene stealer for me is Judd Law, who gives a remarkable performance. He delivers his lines eloquently and with a British flair where you’re captivated by what he says. The whole cast is great and together they make the unmemorable dialogue sensational with their delivery. Overall, “Side Effects” is a engrossing movie that keeps you guessing till the very end. With Soderbergh’s fantastic direction and performances by a dedicated cast this film is a winner by all means. While it may feel disjointed and confusing in the beginning, it becomes entrancing when things start coming together leaving the viewers with a satisfying conclusion. This a great send off for Soderbergh and he will be remembered as a great director for years to come. I give it 4.5/5, well directed and performed film that is riveting. “Fetch Status”
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  7. May 31, 2013
    4
    For a psychological thriller with a murder and a lesbian twist, it really is boring, but unsurprisingly stupid. A far-fetched script that is so inconceivable with so many plot twists just for the sake of keeping it interesting. After some decent performances and a list of every anti-depressant in the world mentioned, the movie is disappointing, even though I had no expectations going into it.
  8. Jul 29, 2013
    5
    This Soderbergh thriller fails to deliver the goods: it's slow, colorless and drowsy, very much like the medication they keep talking about in the film makes you feel. Jude Law certainly isn't bad (lesser actors would have made the movie even more boring) but even he can't save this one. Admittedly there are much worse thrillers out there but you can happily skip this one.
  9. Feb 17, 2013
    9
    Side Effects is a very well done film. It has twists and turns that are actually surprising and it is reported by an excellent cast. The filming was good the writing was good and it was visually well done. Also as a Psychology major I found the plot extremely interesting! I would recommend this film to anyone.
  10. Sep 5, 2014
    8
    This was a very good and twisty thriller. Steven Soderbergh is great in the director's chair as usual. Jude Law and Rooney Mara are also the two main standouts in this cast, though Catherine Zeta-Jones and Channing Tatum are also strong in more supporting roles. This one really manages to keep you on the edge of your seat throughout the film with each twist and turn you do not see coming.This was a very good and twisty thriller. Steven Soderbergh is great in the director's chair as usual. Jude Law and Rooney Mara are also the two main standouts in this cast, though Catherine Zeta-Jones and Channing Tatum are also strong in more supporting roles. This one really manages to keep you on the edge of your seat throughout the film with each twist and turn you do not see coming. The writing here is splendid and the way the story is presented by Soderbergh is a major strength for this one. The cinematography is also strong here, as is usually the case in Soderbergh's films. The film does take many twists, some of them easier to figure out than others, but ultimately,it manages to keep things really interesting as this one could easily be categorized as many things; medical thriller, psychological thriller, crime drama, and a little bit of courtroom drama, all of which keep things lively and interesting. Overall, Side Effects is a very well made, low-key, and above all, entertaining film that will leave you more than satisfied. Expand
  11. May 17, 2013
    7
    Had low expectations, was pleasantly surprised! This movie is a slow burning thriller (more of a mind game), with same good performances (especially from Jude Law and Rooney Mara). There are no black or white characters here, just shades of grey leaning towards the darker tones. Also with some social criticism. Might be somewhat predictable, but the performances make it worth watch!…
  12. Feb 9, 2013
    7
    The creepy tone of this movie and overall craft were great, but the outcome of the supposed mystery was fairly predictable. Great acting. I enjoyed watching the movie, but if the intent was to surprise, it didn't work for me.
  13. Aug 3, 2013
    8
    Steven Soderbergh's Side Effects is a compulsively entertaining thriller. Rooney Mara and Jude Law give petrifyingly good performances. Thomas Newman's score is rapturous. It's a must-see.
  14. Mar 17, 2013
    9
    Clever plot, good acting. Hard to follow sometimes, and visually a bit unexciting, but pretty entertaining, adult entertainment anyway. Good turns from Jude La and Rooney Mara. Extra marks for not following predictable paths. Less marks for a moderately silly lesbian sub-plot that bordered on being pointlessly salacious. But still one of the better films of the year, so long as you payClever plot, good acting. Hard to follow sometimes, and visually a bit unexciting, but pretty entertaining, adult entertainment anyway. Good turns from Jude La and Rooney Mara. Extra marks for not following predictable paths. Less marks for a moderately silly lesbian sub-plot that bordered on being pointlessly salacious. But still one of the better films of the year, so long as you pay attention to what is going on. Expand
  15. Feb 13, 2013
    9
    "Side Effects" is an intelligent, thought-provoking thriller for adult audiences the film is beautifully directed and acted, and the focused script keeps the action moving forward with few distractions. It's better NOT to know much about the plot, because the way in which it unfolds is one of the film's pleasures. That said, all four main Actors are excellent, with Jude Law and Rooney"Side Effects" is an intelligent, thought-provoking thriller for adult audiences the film is beautifully directed and acted, and the focused script keeps the action moving forward with few distractions. It's better NOT to know much about the plot, because the way in which it unfolds is one of the film's pleasures. That said, all four main Actors are excellent, with Jude Law and Rooney Mara outstanding. No knock to current cinema, but in an era of super heroes and vampires, it's nice to have a smart film for adults. Expand
  16. Feb 10, 2013
    7
    Side Effects picks up in the second and third act, so if you are still with it up to that point you might enjoy it. This is apparently Steven Soderbergh's last movie, and it's nice to see he made an adult themed thriller instead of another Oceans movie. Well crafted and stylish, with some added twists and turns at the end, but in the end I ask myself if I would like to see it again, andSide Effects picks up in the second and third act, so if you are still with it up to that point you might enjoy it. This is apparently Steven Soderbergh's last movie, and it's nice to see he made an adult themed thriller instead of another Oceans movie. Well crafted and stylish, with some added twists and turns at the end, but in the end I ask myself if I would like to see it again, and the answer is probably not anytime soon. Expand
  17. Feb 10, 2013
    7
    Although some of its "twists" and character relationships could be developed more clearly, "Side Effects" still comes through as a surprisingly engrossing thriller with fantastic turns from Rooney Mara and Jude Law.
  18. Aug 17, 2013
    8
    "Side Effects" is cleverly crafted in that you believe you're watching one type of film, when it's actually about something else altogether. "Side Effects" begins as if it were a modern-day problem movie, but then transforms itself. The twists are many, and ever-changing landscape of the film alters the path it takes on its road to resolution. "Side Effects" is really a sleekly constructed"Side Effects" is cleverly crafted in that you believe you're watching one type of film, when it's actually about something else altogether. "Side Effects" begins as if it were a modern-day problem movie, but then transforms itself. The twists are many, and ever-changing landscape of the film alters the path it takes on its road to resolution. "Side Effects" is really a sleekly constructed noir using the pharmaceutical industry as the backdrop.

    Taylor (Rooney Mara) is a 28-year-old graphic designer who looks somewhat adrift in her Manhattan apartment. She is awaiting the return of her husband Martin (Channing Tatum), sentenced to prison four years before for insider trading. The film starts up just before his release, a day she's eagerly awaiting. Once he's out, though, she seems unable to control her depression. Taken to the hospital, she's examined by a psychiatrist, Dr. Jonathan Banks (Jude Law). He's concerned about her suicidal tendencies, but takes Emily's word that she'll start coming in for therapy and continue taking her medications, so he lets her go. Her psychiatrist Dr. Banks, after conferring with her old doctor, Dr. Victoria Siebert (Catherine Zeta-Jones), eventually prescribes her an experimental new medication he's consulting on, Ablixa.

    At first, "Side Effects" appears solely as Emily's story--following her through the withering exhaustion of adjusting medications, and dealing with the increasingly horrendous conditions they cause. And then, just as you have resigned to "Side Effects" as a blitz against our society's willingness to seek personal solutions in pills, the narrative veers sideways--and you never really see it coming. From there on, it's a game of shifting narratives and re-examined assumptions that contains more than a couple of decoys. The movie is content to keep viewers engaged by changing our perceptions of events and characters as the plot unfolds. This is what makes this film such a marvel and so difficult to discuss, but unquestionably worth the watch.
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  19. Feb 24, 2013
    7
    Being one of the more story-centric movies this year, Side Effects is an outlier compared to other films like Die Hard, ect. This being said, it is not particularly great in it's storyline or pacing, but it is fun and interesting to finally see a decent movie that relies more on its character development than its's action or star line-up. The thing this film does best is certainly it'sBeing one of the more story-centric movies this year, Side Effects is an outlier compared to other films like Die Hard, ect. This being said, it is not particularly great in it's storyline or pacing, but it is fun and interesting to finally see a decent movie that relies more on its character development than its's action or star line-up. The thing this film does best is certainly it's character development, and you literally see certain characters progressing or degreasing in their state of mind throughout the film, and it makes u greatly for its luke-warm story and plot. Expand
  20. Mar 9, 2013
    7
    This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. A wonderfully mature and adult thriller in which the puzzle is somewhat more satisfying than the resolution as it leaves a few uncertain conclusions. Jude Law is very good as the psychiatrist treating Rooney Mara's depressed patient and there are twists and turns in abundance; a shocking murder and a lot of debating the use of prescription drugs are just a few of the plot points that propel the story intriguingly forward. However, I must admit to some uncertainty about the conclusion which is lazily written. One gets the gist, but it is definitely not totally satisfactory. Good acting and a mood enhancing score from Thomas Newman add to the stylish effect. Expand
  21. Feb 11, 2013
    7
    Saw this the other day with a friend, not expecting a whole lot. However, I demand that you go and see this movie. It's extremely well made and a great way to go out for Steven Soderbergh. Best film I've seen in 2013 so far.
  22. Feb 21, 2013
    10
    Side Effects is Soderbergh’s latest and last effort as a director and it is without a doubt that fans of the prolific filmmaker will be feeling symptoms of lost once the film credits roll on his latest masterpiece. Emily Taylor (Rooney Mara) is an unstable, beautiful young woman who is suffering from depression following her husband Martin Taylor’s (Channing Tatum) arrest [on their weddingSide Effects is Soderbergh’s latest and last effort as a director and it is without a doubt that fans of the prolific filmmaker will be feeling symptoms of lost once the film credits roll on his latest masterpiece. Emily Taylor (Rooney Mara) is an unstable, beautiful young woman who is suffering from depression following her husband Martin Taylor’s (Channing Tatum) arrest [on their wedding day no less] for insider trading. While Emily holds down payments on a little apartment in New York City, all the while attending therapy and struggling to find a pharmaceutical prescription that best fits her lifestyle, her depression worsens.
    Four years later, Martin is released, contributing more to Emily’s anxieties. Unable to mould in social settings, Emily takes matters into her own hands and attempts to commit suicide by driving into a brick wall. Bruised and battered, Emily begins a relationship with a new therapist, Dr. Jonathan Banks (Jude Law). Detained at the hospital after her failed attempt at suicide, Dr. Banks agrees to release Emily under the sole condition that she begins treatment with him. Under Dr. Banks’ guidance, Emily goes through an array of various anti-depressants which leaves them no choice but to try a new experimental drug, recommended by Emily’s previous therapist, Dr. Victoria Siebert (Catherine Zeta-Jones) Ablixa. While under the powerful side effects of the new drug, Emily commits an unforgivable crime that leaves Dr. Banks’ life spiralling into utter chaos. The film undoubtedly is a work of collaboration, like many of Soderbergh’s previous works. Scott Z. Burns crafts an elaborately stylish screenplay and the performances by Mara, Zeta-Jones, Tatum and Law are spectacular in every way imaginable. But thanks to Soderbergh’s decision to retire from the medium prematurely, however brilliant everyone else is in the film, the movie’s’ focus is directly on him. Side Effects can be described as nothing short of artful perfection. Much like the effects of a poisonous fog, clouding the unfocused thoughts and blurry morals of ethical people, Side Effects is a remedy for self-awareness and clarity. Unorthodox in nature, and possibly being labelled as the first “pharma-noir” film of its kind, Side Effects is an atmospheric, tense and taught mystery film that sedates to pleasurable ends. Captivating in every frame and cunning with every cut, Side Effects is a modern day horror film founded in the deep realities of the lives of everyday people. As a character states in the film, “Rational people may see it like that, but I don’t see many rational people around” and Soderbergh’s underlining message is a self-reflexsive piece right and wrong. Is the authority that a doctor has over a patient more terrifying than assuming that people are naturally good in nature and thought—when they are not?
    Soderbergh is one of the few directors who always respects his audience and never dumbs his viewers down. Perhaps the greatest mystery that the film presents is why Soderbergh has decided to retire the camera for a paintbrush? And although Side Effects is his graceful farewell film and that notion is quite a bitter pill to swallow, it is just what the doctor ordered.
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  23. Jun 21, 2013
    0
    So boring and predictable. After the first 20 minutes it was easy enough to catch the rest of the film. Obvious twist and dumb one at that. A real waste of time to say the least.
  24. Feb 9, 2013
    8
    This movie is great, first 30 minutes, the movie move slow, to show the characters. Then, get ready for this thriller and suspense. Very relevant and current, with the medicine industry.
  25. Feb 14, 2013
    7
    A great thriller, but in 2013 it's not much more than an episode of CSI. Literally, we felt like the first half was only there to prevent this from being wider recepted. Full review at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-JRGamC1mZY
  26. May 20, 2013
    8
    Soderbergh puts a smooth polish on Scott Z. Burns’ script, which has some clever twists and sly commentary about pharmaceutical-industry marketing. Mara ("The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo") holds the wild plot together with her quicksilver performance.
    It starts with frail Emily (Rooney Mara) feeling depressed when her husband Martin (Channing Tatum) finishes a prison term for insider
    Soderbergh puts a smooth polish on Scott Z. Burns’ script, which has some clever twists and sly commentary about pharmaceutical-industry marketing. Mara ("The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo") holds the wild plot together with her quicksilver performance.
    It starts with frail Emily (Rooney Mara) feeling depressed when her husband Martin (Channing Tatum) finishes a prison term for insider trading. Emily sees a shrink, Dr. Jonathan Banks (Jude Law), who prescribes a new anti-depressant but the drug’s side effects include sleepwalking, or for Emily sleep-stabbing.
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  27. Feb 15, 2013
    9
    For Rooney Mara fans, this was her best work thus far. Her character "acts" in the movie, and it just highlights her ability as an actor. The writers got a little lazy with some aspects of the movie, i.e., when Jude Law shows the video of her taking it. Unrealistic character flaws or reactions should not be a driver in moving the story along. Overall though, very nice twists.
  28. Jul 14, 2013
    5
    The movie starts as a conspiracy theorists wet dream about big pharma but goes later down another path. Unfortunately, the story is illogical and the plot tries bit too hard to be clever. Actors do a fine job, aside Catherine Zeta-Jones character is not a good fit for her.
  29. Jul 11, 2014
    5
    I didn't know anything about the plot before I watched it, and after an hour or so of watching Side Effects I thought I'd see some major plot twist that would surprise me. The premises were there: the film was decently long, the beginning was weird enough and some things were left unexplained. But then the actual plot twist comes around (not really well structured, in my opinion, there'sI didn't know anything about the plot before I watched it, and after an hour or so of watching Side Effects I thought I'd see some major plot twist that would surprise me. The premises were there: the film was decently long, the beginning was weird enough and some things were left unexplained. But then the actual plot twist comes around (not really well structured, in my opinion, there's too much of a jump between when Jude Law is complaining and when he realises there's a scheme going on) I was left with disappointment: it was, in the end, predictable and poorly delivered.

    On the other hand, the acting is good even if I didn't like Catherine Zeta-Jones at all, the dialogues too. The music and the cinematography are okay. I wouldn't say it's anything particularly interesting.
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  30. Mar 31, 2013
    6
    Undeniably well shot and, to an extent, acted. However, 'Side Effects' labours under the misapprehension that it is far more intelligent than it actually is and jams the story together like ill-fitting puzzle pieces.
Metascore
75

Generally favorable reviews - based on 39 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 33 out of 39
  2. Negative: 2 out of 39
  1. Reviewed by: Ian Freer
    Mar 4, 2013
    80
    We may lose Soderbergh to painting, theatre and HBO-fuelled TV, and that’s a crying shame. If that’s the case, Side Effects is a great note on which to go out.
  2. Reviewed by: Jordan Hoffman
    Feb 26, 2013
    91
    He’s taken what, on paper, boils down to an extra ridiculous episode of “Law and Order: Criminal Intent” and passes it off as high cinematic art.
  3. Reviewed by: Richard Corliss
    Feb 9, 2013
    90
    Side Effects virtually demands a three-word review: Just see it.