Starring: Matt Damon, Kate Winslet, Laurence Fishburne, Jude Law, Marion Cotillard, Gwyneth Paltrow
Directed by: Steven Soderbergh
Written by: Scott Z. Burns
Studio: Warner Brothers
Runtime: 105 Minutes
Blu-Ray Release Date: January 3, 2012
HTS Overall Score:80.5
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=8145&w=o[/img]I want to start my review by saying this -- Contagion has been compared to the movie Outbreak which has a similar initial premise, however the two are very different and a comparison of the two is an injustice to both films. This film takes a realistic view on what might happen if a real epidemic or pandemic occurred. Guns, explosions and fast-paced action are void from this film, all together. While I enjoyed Outbreak very much, I also will say that this movie is just as good, if not better, when taken in the right frame of mind. A good handful of my friends and peers went into this movie expecting a similar experience to Outbreak and were left disappointed. With that expectation out of the way, I think you can enjoy the film much more for what it is. What this film is a high-intensity drama. Most people won’t make this confusion, but I just want to clarify this to those who might.
[img] http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=8149&w=o[/img]The film opens on Beth Emhoff (Paltrow) waiting to board her flight at an airport, coughing like a heavily addicted chain-smoker. As the camera follows her home to her husband Mitch (Damon), the audience becomes very aware that something is very wrong with her. The film cut to other seemingly random people who seem to have the same affliction as her and thus begins the nightmare. As we begin to find out, this is disease is very highly contagious and begins to spread at an alarming rate, unlike anything anyone has ever seen. At first chance CDC, headed by Dr. Ellis Cheever(Fishburne), begins to act to find out exactly what is going on, doing field research and also lab research in order to find the source of it. The CDC, along with researchers throughout the rest of the world, struggle to figure out exactly what it is in order to create a cure and vaccination for it. They are also pressed for time on the matter because every second that this goes untreated, the disease spreads exponentially.
I also don’t want to give away too much more of the story as some of the intensity is experiencing the story unfold. Contagion does well in aspects of both a thriller and also drama categories, while never really falling directly into either of those categories. As the story continues to be told, we undergo the same the urgency, intensity, and helplessness that the characters in the film experience. The credit goes to the fantastic direction as well as the actors portraying these characters.
Rating: Rated PG-13 for disturbing content and language
[img] http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=8146&w=o[/img]Steven Soderbergh has gone the route of using HD cameras for this film and it looks great. Generally, movies like this I would have expected to use a film-based camera, but the film retains a film-like feel while giving the modern appeal of the high definition camera. What you get is a very enjoyable picture to look at throughout. Minute detail are very forthcoming through each scene and it stayed consistently through the length of the film. Uses of different hues to set the mood come across very apparent and detail is retained throughout the variance of color dynamics. Contrast between light and dark is also very broad giving great definition in variations of light. Darker sequences keep the detail very well throughout also. Generally, Contagion was given a very pleasing video transfer.
Contagion is not an action oriented film, but as far as audio presentation goes, I was still left very impressed. Spatial cues and surround usage are hardly ever very blatant, but again, this is not a "bullet-whizzing-by-your-head" kind of film. Going along with the very busy, very anxious feel of the film, the audio keeps up giving plenty of ambient noises to keep the audience immersed. On top of that, the most important part, the dialog, remained completely intelligible throughout the film. It's also worth mentioning that the musical score is not what you would normally expect from a film of this nature either. The music was more of a new-age style, but, again, it works very well for this film. Low frequencies are also mostly presented through the beats of the music.
• "False Comfort Zone: The Reality of Contagion" Featurette
• "The 'Contagion' Detectives" Featurette
• "'Contagion': How a Virus Changes the World"
I went into 'Contagion' somewhat blindly and ended up really enjoying this film. The feeling of urgency is kept from the beginning of the film to the very end. While it is not quite an edge-of-your-seat thriller, I definitely thought there was not a dull moment in the movie. The top-notch ensemble were all very convincing while portraying their respective characters. Fortunately, this film also had technical specifications that lend properly to this film as well. The video transfer did this movie justice. Overall, I definitely would say to see this movie. Contagion was one of the best films of 2011.
Recommendation: Worth Checking Out!
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