Side Effects - Review




Directed by Steven Soderbergh

Starring Rooney Mara, Channing Tatum, Jude Law and Catherine Zeta-Jones

Emily Taylor (Mara) welcomes the release of her husband Martin (Tatum) after a spell in prison. As the couple get back to their old life, she struggles with depression and falls into a downward spiral. When psychiatrist Jonathan Banks (Law) is assigned to her and prescribes a new drug Ablixa, Emily’s behaviour takes a startling turn.

If this is to be Steven Soderbergh’s last splash on theatre screens, Side Effects goes out with an unsettling yet exhilarating bang. It’s hard to talk in too much detail about the finer plot nuances given the fact the cast have done so much to keep it under wraps on the press junket. And actually in an age of the internet, it’s rare to enter a screening being more or less unaware of the direction a film will take. So if you are thinking of going to see Side Effects – do yourself a favour and keep clear of any literature on the film.

With that said, Soderbergh structures this picture with impeccable and clinical precision. The way in which your allegiances towards characters changes almost undetectably is bracing and even surprising by the end of the movie. Victim turns mastermind, the profiteered becomes duped. Each piece in this epic chess game of a film settles into their shifting characters with ease that can only be expected from a talented cast such as this. There is a nerve-jangling yet oddly beautiful score by Thomas Newman that commences from the opening scene that just enhances the unnerving nature of what you are about to witness.

In Mara’s first leading role since The Girl With The Dragon tattoo she evokes vulnerability and a chilling detachment that is poles apart from any thing we have seen from her previously. It’s quite sinister actually. Jude Law is the beating heart and glue which holds this film together. Act one is Mara’s, by act 3 there is a seamless perspective shift and the story becomes his. Every time you think you've got a hold on the plot and think you can predict the direction of the next part, you probably can’t.  I don’t say this often, but Side Effects in a must see.

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