CONTAGION

Like the victims of a virus for which there is no cure, this movie
takes sick quickly, then coughs and splutters its way to a messy
death. But unlike those victims, the movie doesn't die quickly, even
though it has flatlined long before the credits roll. It seems
difficult to make a dull picture about the race to stop a worldwide
pandemic that threatens our very civilization, but the most obvious
symptom you'll notice won't be on screen; it'll be your butt itching
as the multiple story lines play out. The acting is at best efficient
(Damon, Paltrow), at worst mailed-in (Fishburne) or miscast (Elliott
Gould). As a thriller, it lacks the necessary driving momentum toward
a big finish; as a tale of how different people react to crisis, it
has no characters about whom we are made to care. There's a laughable
kidnapping subplot that seems like both a failed attempt to humanize
the story… and to bring in the tiredest of cliches: World Government
in bed with Big Pharma. It is an unfortunate irony that the key to
this film's plot is batshit, because as entertainment, CONTAGION is
guano. — Jeff Schultz

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