Reviews of movies from my giant DVD tower, and more.
Released on February 8, 2013
Directed by Steven Soderbergh
Written by Scott Z. Burns
Cast: Jude Law, Rooney Mara, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Channing Tatum, Vinessa Shaw, Laila Robins, Polly Draper, David Costabile, Mamie Gummer, Ann Dowd, Scott Shepherd, Elizabeth Rodriguez
A psychological drama that suddenly and unexpectedly turned on a dime and became a nifty little mystery thriller, this film from director Steven Soderbergh and writer Scott Z. Burns not only had you guessing each step of the way, and wondering where it all was headed, but kept you riveted with its visuals and solid acting, especially by Jude Law, who played the lead, a psychiatrist who takes on a suicidal patient and prescribes to her an experimental drug, at the recommendation of the woman’s previous psychiatrist, played by Catherine Zeta-Jones.
From there the story becomes a tangled mess for Law, as he finds himself sinking deeper and deeper into a situation that’s quickly spiraling out of his control. Soon, after events reveal themselves that I never saw coming, Law decides…well, there’s too much to explain, and too much I don’t want to spoil, so let’s just say I really love revenge movies, and leave the rest for you to discover for yourself.
Once again, I found myself impressed with Soderbergh’s work, and like his recent The Informant! and Haywire, I loved how the story was enhanced by his camera, and the smart decisions he made with it: backgrounds, framing, placement, movement, and most impressively, the look and texture of every scene, which was fantastic, and is now an aspect of his filmmaking that I’ll look forward to whenever I catch his subsequent films. In fact, looking down his list of previous works, I’m surprised to find he’s directed so many, and yet so many I never knew he directed!
The ying and yang of the film’s two halves—the first interesting and heading in one direction, the second exciting and traveling in another—was a dichotomy that worked, and reminded me of a handful of Hitchcock films that followed the same pattern; for example, Vertigo, Psycho, and even The Birds. Overall, Side Effects was a film that not only kept me thoroughly entertained, but delivered two warnings that, depending on how you feel about such things, could be valuable to you at some point down the road: don’t trust women, and never, ever piss off Jude Law. (8/10)