Contagion: Finally! A movie that gets it right!

Wonderist
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Contagion: Finally! A movie that gets it right!

I super-duper-highly recommend the movie Contagion.

Now, I don't want to fuck with your expectations (and hence, enjoyment or appreciation) of this movie. So let me set some expectations that are reasonable without giving too much away.

This is not a very exciting movie at all. When I first walked out of the theatre, I felt very disappointed. And I want to make sure that no one goes into this expecting great action, or high suspense, or gripping drama, or any of that stuff. That is not why I recommend this movie.

In fact, my initial disappointment has morphed into enormous respect for this movie, and its director Steven Soderbergh--who is hit and miss (Ocean's Tired&Boring, but also Che and Out of Sight (Jennifer Lopez; wowzers; okay, maybe this is just me)).

So, do NOT go to this movie expecting much. If you find it boring or slow, just sit through it. If you don't like the characters, just let them be annoying. If you don't like this or that, just let it be disappointing.

But DO go see this movie.

Now, for why this movie is awesome ... Wait a sec, you have to see it first! Go away! Go watch it first! ... I'm not going to tell you until you watch it. Seriously. If you read this, then you may eventually see this movie and think, "Yeah, whatever", but miss the reason why it's awesome. As spoilers go, this is a pretty big spoiler. I already told you not to expect much, so seriously, don't expect much. But watch it first, okay?

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<<<< SPOILERS!!!! DO NOT READ UNTIL YOU WATCH IT!!! >>>>

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I've been wanting to write this review for over a week now. I saw Contagion last week and was disappointed, walking out of the theatre. I thought it was rather boring. Certainly not exciting. Nothing really new. No great drama. Flawed characters you couldn't quite root for (and a few heroic characters who simply die like everyone else).

And then I realized. This movie is awesome precisely because it is boring, doesn't do anything new, and has flawed characters (and heroes who die early). This movie is awesome because of what it isn't compared to what it could have been. It could have been another Hollywood plague disaster movie, or yet another zombie-virus movie with 'mutated DNA' and blah blah blah. It could have been action packed and high suspense (like Outbreak, which I loved also, but for the action and suspense, not for what makes Contagion great).

Watching Contagion was like watching a documentary. Or, to put it in a similar category, it was like watching 9/11 happening in slow motion. The key feature of Contagion is its accuracy to reality.

The virus could have been the result of an evil corporation making bio-weapons (as is hinted at the beginning and throughout the movie). It could have been created by the Chinese (as is also hinted). The vaccine could have been dangerous (as is hinted). The alternative cure could have been effective. The virus could have been 100% (or nearly) lethal. It could have led to martial law, or WWIII. But it didn't. Instead, as you only learn at the end of the movie--so if you're still reading this, go watch the freaking movie already--it turns out that the virus is simply a virus which has crossed the species barrier (which happens fairly regularly), which happened to be highly contagious and fairly deadly (though not even approaching 50% or the population, more like 10% or something, I forget exactly). The vaccine simply works, but can't be made fast enough to meet demand, initially. Yes, it's a global disaster, but nothing sinister or supernatural or fantastical about it.

And--this is big--the homeopathic cure doesn't work at all. And the corporation is just some random corporation that has nothing to do with the disease except for disturbing the environment leading to interaction between bats and pigs which normally would not have occurred. And the gov't is not entirely competent, but it's not as susceptible to military take-over as we might fear. And science fucking WORKS the way science really works, including the odd risk-taking once in a while. And cooler heads prevail. And all those crazy wacked-out 'possibilities' never actually come to pass. And life goes on.

The twist ending is that there is no twist ending.

That is what is unique about this movie. I cannot think of another movie that got reality so right. Or deals with irrational fears so head-on. Usually Hollywood sells out to whatever sells, regardless of how bullshit it is. Not this movie. This movie tells it like it is, with no exaggeration (aside from the basic premise of the existence of the virus). They even get fucking DNA right! Holy fuck! I thought I'd never fucking see the day.

This movie was disappointing. But I realized that this initial disappointment is actually what makes this movie so right. In the end, that initial disappointment is why I appreciate this movie so much more today. The actors in it took a big risk, and deserve a lot of credit. Steven Soderbergh, too. Unfortunately, this movie will unlikely make much money (just checked; it's doing okay, but not yet recouped its budget). But I would rather watch and promote a movie like this than some Hollywoood schlock-fest.

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luca
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rohs

It sounds like a mix between Blindness, The Happening, and something else I'm forgetting.


Wonderist
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luca wrote:It sounds like a

luca wrote:

It sounds like a mix between Blindness, The Happening, and something else I'm forgetting.

Actually, it is completely unlike those movies. (Haven't seen Blindness though (wanted to but missed it), so I could be wrong on that one).

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Watcher
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I very rarely watch movies

I very rarely watch movies in the theatre.  I'm more than content to wait until it comes out for watching at home.

It's not very often that I'm in such an all fired up hurry that I can't wait however long.

Of course, maybe that's just because I'm a southern country boy.  We take our time around these here parts.

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Blindness, definitely worth

Blindness, definitely worth watching.  The Happening, to me was firstly a stretch scientifically, and secondly, the message is that Science can't explain everything, you just have to have faith.  Pretty bad movie for multiple reasons.  

 

BTW if any of you are movie watchers:

icefilms.info

follow the dirrections and get the plugin to work, well worth it.  I used to use newsgroups and torrents to download my stuff. now I just click and stream. 

 

"Don't seek these laws to understand. Only the mad can comprehend..." -- George Cosbuc


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Like Watcher, I rarely go to

Like Watcher, I rarely go to theatres. I tend to wait for a torrent. Hollywood doesn't deserve my money. Of course, if the movie is really enjoyable, I'll buy a copy so I can peruse the special features and watch it in hi def. But that doesn't happen too often.
I will make an effort to see this at some point.

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luca
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natural wrote:luca wrote:It

natural wrote:
luca wrote:
It sounds like a mix between Blindness, The Happening, and something else I'm forgetting.
Actually, it is completely unlike those movies. (Haven't seen Blindness though (wanted to but missed it), so I could be wrong on that one).
In "the happening" there's the nature that goes against the humanity, essentially the trees kill the people, so I'd say it's similar to this Contagion, because then the problem is caused by nature and it's global -- and the people dies like flies (ok in "the happening" they suicide, but the point is they die, no?). In "blindness" again there's this inexplicable illness that causes blindness, and essentially the people cannot do anything but live with it, no special fx.

Hey, I noticed the last time I went to the cinema was one year ago, 20/09/2010, for resident evil: afterlife - 3D.


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I saw it and found it

I saw it and found it interesting. Biology isn't my strong suit, but I still found it interesting.

 

I am disappointed by a lack of zombies though.

 

 

 


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luca wrote:natural

luca wrote:

natural wrote:
luca wrote:
It sounds like a mix between Blindness, The Happening, and something else I'm forgetting.
Actually, it is completely unlike those movies. (Haven't seen Blindness though (wanted to but missed it), so I could be wrong on that one).
In "the happening" there's the nature that goes against the humanity, essentially the trees kill the people, so I'd say it's similar to this Contagion, because then the problem is caused by nature and it's global

No. This is why you need to watch the movie. The 'nature' you speak of in The Happening is not really nature at all, is it? Do trees actually do that in real life? No. It is not 'nature', it is 'supernature'. It is not 'nature', it is Hollywood.

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Watcher
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Cpt_pineapple wrote:I am

Cpt_pineapple wrote:

I am disappointed by a lack of zombies though.

Hey Cpt, are you ready for season two of the Walking Dead coming out next month?

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I know I was ready back in

I know I was ready back in January. That show is fucking awesome.

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Watcher
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My wife has been majorly

My wife has been majorly pissed at the long delay.  At least this season will have 13 episodes where the first season only had 6.

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Vastet
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Me too man. The studio

Me too man. The studio totally underestimated the shows potential I think. The only thing that kept me going was the awesomeness of Game of Thrones. But that seasons over now and I have little else to watch. lol.
At least studios have rotating seasons for shows now. I remember it used to be that all summer, every summer, there was only reruns.

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