Soderbergh's 'final film' is gasp inducing
All you need to know about this week's top new movie Side Effects.
WHO STARS IN IT?
Jude Law, Rooney Mara, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Channing Tatum and Vinessa Shaw.
WHO DIRECTS IT?
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Steven Soderbergh (Erin Brockovich, Ocean's Eleven).
WHAT'S IT ALL ABOUT?
Side Effects is reportedly Steven Soderbergh's final film in the director's chair. He presents a lean psychological thriller about our reliance on prescription medication to smooth every emotional wrinkle.
Screenwriter Scott Z Burns, who penned The Bourne Ultimatum and Contagion, navigates hairpin plot twists with aplomb, leaving characters' fates hanging in the balance so we are never entirely sure if anyone will emerge from the melee unscathed.
Certainly, our nerves are reduced to tatters.
WHAT IS THE PLOT?
The beleaguered heroine at the centre of Soderbergh's film is mousey office worker Emily Taylor (Rooney Mara).
She is crippled with anxiety about the impending release of her jailbird husband, Martin (Channing Tatum), who has served four years for insider trading.
Top psychiatrist Jonathan Banks (Jude Law) prescribes a new medication called Ablixa to calm Emily's nerves.
Soon after, in a drug- induced haze, the wife commits an unspeakable act and, as the media swarms, attention turns to Jonathan's culpability for supplying the pills that led to an act of unimaginable violence.
"I don't want to see another pill," sobs Emily, once she becomes aware of her heinous actions.
Jonathan's wife Dierdre (Vinessa Banks) and business partners abandon him in his hour of need.
Faced with the prospect of losing his medical licence, Jonathan investigates Ablixa, aided by Emily's former shrink, Dr Victoria Siebert (Catherine Zeta-Jones).
IS IT ANY GOOD?
Side Effects is built on the solid foundations of Burns's script, which repeatedly pulls the rug from under us just as we begin to think we know what is going on.
Plot strands become deliciously tangled and there's undeniable pleasure watching the characters try in vain to wriggle free from the complex web of lies. Soderbergh's cool direction oozes style but gives nothing away, so every narrative bombshell lands with a gasp-inducing thud.