What a great way to go out with the best movie of 2013 I've seen so far. I loved the slowly unraveling serpentine plot that had us thinking it was an expose on Big Pharma and then it twisted in a totally different direction. Great acting too. A modern thriller classic.
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 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.
to be questioned in here..
Side Effects is a character driven drama about a metaphorical switch that helps the protagonist toss a newer personality out of her. The first act spends its time on setting the plot and characters where not even a dime changes, a redundant note from the makers. And after it starts riding things, the pace of the feature is surprisingly fast and equally competent for the viewers. Soderbergh easily manages to move around his multiple characters like puppets where he even manipulates the viewers from the tone or the theme of the feature. It is also way too busy and even congested at times and the audience wouldn't have minded few spaces to breathe in where editing is to be questioned in here. The investigation or bisection of the events too is eerily paced and seem to have skipping few beats, no matter how clearer and wider its characters' perspective is. The background score is mysteriously satisfying if not extraordinary with a decent cinematography and loosely edited. The theme is dark, brutal and raw with bold chances that it doesn't even flinch to grasp. Mara is in her A game proving once again why she is one of the best actress of her time and with a strong support from a cast like Law, Tatum and Zeta-Jones, the performance objective is safe. Burns' script is thoroughly entertaining but uneven and fortunately with the finesse of Soderbergh's execution it binds things safely. The inner politics weaved in its last act offers a cathartic release for the viewers. The mechanics of the investigation, the cunning perspective of the characters and Mara at the heart of it are the high points of the feature. Side Effects is a mature take on a smarter investigation and even though it isn't something you may remember after you leave the screen, you'll be hooked up till you are encountering it.