Movie #104 2020: Contagion (2011)

A movie about a deadly zoonotic virus that is plaguing the globe and spreading like wildfire? Hmm, can’t think why that would have made a sudden resurgence…

WARNING: There are spoilers ahead.

Look, I’m not the sort to say a movie is great just because everyone else says so. Many, many people have been praising Contagion for its greatness, but I just don’t see it. Sorry, but it would have been extremely boring to watch were it not for the current pandemic. It is remarkably accurate – they even use the term ‘social distancing’ – but that’s as far as it goes for me. With nothing (COVID-19) to compare it with, it wouldn’t be scary or interesting at all, never mind entertaining. If anything, it would just seem ridiculous.

It’s well made, yes, but the plot is so messy that I can’t understand why other people aren’t seeing that. The idea of following many different characters across the world is an interesting one, but too many loose ends are left by the end. Why make Gwyneth Paltrow‘s character have an affair for it not to be relevant? Why let Marion Cotillard‘s character run back into danger after escaping captivity if you’re not going to show us what happened to her afterwards? (Since noting down my thoughts, I’ve received a fair amount of mansplaining about how I’m wrong. But my views still stand, thank you very much).

Each performance is excellent, I won’t deny that. Jude Law is particularly effective as the journalist with conspiracy theories, and Laurence Fishburne is ever the expert when it comes to making his characters likeable. Sadly though, I’m 100 per cent sure that if I re-watched this in a year’s time, I’d only find it even more boring.

I’d probably categorise this as the best movie about a deadly virus ever made. (Others such as Cloverfield and The Crazies didn’t float my boat either). What I mean is, that’s not saying much, because they all suck.

Contagion is available to stream on Netflix in the UK.

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