Contagion (2011)
September 3, 2018 10:36 AM - Subscribe

One of Soderbergh's best: As an epidemic of a lethal airborne virus - that kills within days - rapidly grows, the worldwide medical community races to find a cure and control the panic that spreads faster than the virus itself.

Contagion film is not far from the truth, warns virus scientist.

Some fine minor rolls: Demetri Martin, Bryan Cranston, Elliott Gould.
posted by growabrain (22 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
I enjoyed the movie. I liked the part where Mark Wahlberg had his shotgun and was ready to shoot the boyfriend after he pulled the kid off his daughter. Jennifer Ehle is always a treat.
posted by Fukiyama at 5:48 PM on September 3, 2018 [1 favorite]

You probably got Mark Wahlberg confused with Matt Damon which I can understand.

I liked this movie, but it wasn't something I felt I ever needed to rewatch. I suppose it wasn't as 'fun' a movie as Outbreak which I am more likely to rewatch even if to laugh at (been awhile since I saw it, I mainly remember Letterman randomly saying "We got to find that monkey!" a few times long after that movie left theaters). I did appreciate that the film portrayed Jude Law's character in a way where even though I was pretty confident he was a bullshit artist it was still easy to wonder if he was really on to something... cause that's how they get ya. I guess where it fell somewhat flat for me was I just didn't really care too much about Matt Damon's story.
posted by Green With You at 7:29 AM on September 4, 2018 [3 favorites]

You probably got Mark Wahlberg confused with Matt Damon which I can understand.

Thank you, yes. The standard middle-aged white father character. Interesting that there isn't enough to that the part to make it memorable. I usually don't confuse actors like that.

The Jude Law character's story arc is probably what makes the movie most remarkable. That is definitely something that would happen; the use of social media is very good.
posted by Fukiyama at 7:37 AM on September 4, 2018 [2 favorites]

I have an odd fondness for pandemic movies and this one is a great thriller. My only knock against it is that the wider devastation never fully comes across. They mention the body count but it never quite feels as bad as it clearly is.

Amazing cast and Soderbergh knows how to direct.
posted by slimepuppy at 11:21 AM on September 4, 2018 [1 favorite]

So...basically Pandemic: the Movie? Rather than go out to the theater with all those infectious people, I may just play the game again. Over the internet. Safe in my hermetically sealed apartment.
posted by happyroach at 2:51 PM on September 4, 2018 [2 favorites]

I loved this film except for all the bits with Jude Law which I totally hated. It felt like he'd wandered in from another movie; I still don't know what the point of that whole subplot was.

So...basically Pandemic: the Movie?

Hah, my co-workers got me to play Pandemic at lunch a few years ago and I was, "So this is Contagion: The Game?"
posted by octothorpe at 4:36 PM on September 4, 2018 [4 favorites]

I guess where it fell somewhat flat for me was I just didn't really care too much about Matt Damon's story.

I wonder how much that's on purpose. He's a good and dependable and completely boring fellow, and he exists in this movie primarily to be a focal point to see some other interesting things happen, both of which are helped to explain by this dullness. His wife has some extra-marital shenanigans which complicate the plot with regards to tracing the origin of the disease and his kid... well, kid gonna kid and as a boring and play-it-safe person driven to over-protectiveness (or is it over-protective?) caution she doesn't take him seriously.

I haven't seen it since the theater and one of the things that really stuck with me as so very believable was the kiddo sneaking out and viewing that first kiss as totally worth the risk. It's so very much in keeping with the intensity of that age and her father's keep it in your pants you have a whole lifetime to do this so long as you make sure you have one is so very understandable from here in my 40s. Their inability to understand each other on this feels more real than maybe anything else in this very real feeling movie.

When I saw this movie I wasn't a parent yet but it still managed to make me think dude you are so not right in your handling of this while at the same time being completely understandable to me. That's probably one of the things that really hooked me on this movie. People make mistakes that feel human in scope and do things that seem like they're a bad idea without being full on oh man this is such a mistake how could you or being complete villains. Not just the Jude Law ambiguity, but things like Fishburn opening his mouth in a way he shouldn't and where he holds back.
posted by phearlez at 1:35 PM on September 6, 2018 [4 favorites]

Big fan of any film that features Gwyneth Paltrow dying a horrible death in the first ten minutes.

I wouldn't wish an actual human death IRL, but I can still savor a simulated death from a repellent person.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 5:11 PM on September 6, 2018 [5 favorites]

I just started watching this at five in the morning a couple of days ago in a fit of insomnia, and could not stop despite needing to sleep. I especially appreciate the quiet unfolding of the catastrophe. Nothing about the trajectory of events seems especially forced. Terrible mistakes are rendered completely comprehensible, and all the more terrifying for it. Certain impulsive decisions are shown to be crucial or awful only in retrospect, which is part of what keeps this feeling so real. Fishburne, Ehle, and Winslet's performances are all outstanding.
posted by skoosh at 12:38 PM on April 8, 2019 [2 favorites]

A movie with Jennifer Ehle and Gwyneth Paltrow and Kate Winslet. It just now pushed my Jane Austen button.
This is not Pride and Prejudice and Zombies. And no Mr. Darcy in sight.
posted by TrishaU at 4:09 AM on March 11, 2020 [1 favorite]

So I just watched it again last night, and Jude Law’s accent and bad teeth are the only false notes in the whole film.
posted by growabrain at 9:14 PM on March 11, 2020

This held up pretty well on rewatch. I like that they acknowledged the boredom and cabin fever, although I think they undersold it given the length of the quarantine & curfew.
posted by janell at 8:03 PM on March 14, 2020 [4 favorites]

I loved this film except for all the bits with Jude Law which I totally hated. It felt like he'd wandered in from another movie; I still don't know what the point of that whole subplot was.

On rewatch this weekend, I love the Jude Law subplot, it feels so now except that if it were 2020, he'd be a guest on Fox and probably visit the president.

I feel like this film should have been a miniseries, a lot of it felt rushed and a little cursory; we get zero backstory or characterization about anyone really. And the Marion Cotillard plot seems really pointless but maybe would have worked better in a longer format?
posted by octothorpe at 5:48 AM on March 16, 2020 [3 favorites]

When I rewatched it this week, it was painful how the sick people would not stop touching all the things.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 5:33 PM on March 16, 2020 [5 favorites]

This is some Avengers-level ensemble casting. Gwyneth Paltrow should try shouting "Contagioners Assemble!" to see what happens.
posted by oulipian at 11:35 AM on March 24, 2020 [1 favorite]

Just heard a mention on the Slate Spoiler Special Podcast that there was a lot more filmed of the Colillard subplot in the village but it never made it to the final cut.
posted by octothorpe at 1:22 PM on March 24, 2020 [1 favorite]

There are some typos in the tags.
posted by Monochrome at 10:46 PM on March 31, 2020 [1 favorite]

Finally did a rewatch tonight, wasn't sure if I had the stomach for it. The thing that strikes me now is that Jude Law's character is the President and most of his advisors. The competence on display in the movie now resembles the West Wing in comparison to reality.
posted by benzenedream at 8:03 PM on April 17, 2020 [1 favorite]

I just rewatched this last night, it's now on HBO.

Interesting in that they got so much right, but the things that are different stand out. First, I think that something that debilitates and kills so quickly will never have an R-naught that is very high. people get too sick to spread it for a long time. Ebola is 2, covid19 is nearly 3.
Secondly how slowly they stopped shaking hands, and how late in the game the runs on grocery stores came.
INteresting the runs on pharmacies, we didn't have anything like that with hydroxychloroquine, but then again people weren't dropping dead on buses.

The vaccine subplot is hopeful and makes for a great story, but easily the silliest part og the whole movie.
All in all it's worth a watch just to see how competent the health professionals are and how there's no mention of a president in the whole movie.
posted by OHenryPacey at 12:55 PM on May 16, 2020 [1 favorite]

That was something I was thinking about when reading Station Eleven, the author had the incubation period as less than 4 hours and death within 24 to 48 hours, presumably to make it more frightening, but any human-transmitted disease like that would burn out very quickly, even with modern travel velocities.
posted by tavella at 6:06 PM on May 16, 2020

Good observation, but don't get me started on station eleven...I can't for the life of me understand the love for that book.
posted by OHenryPacey at 10:35 PM on May 16, 2020

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