Get out your Zoloft and Prilosec, we're reviewing Side Effects!
Emily Taylor(Rooney Mara) is having trouble with her life after her husband, Martin(Channing Tatum), gets out of prison. Her new doctor, Dr. Banks(Jude Law) proscribes a new drug on the market, Ablixa, that starts showing some weird side effects...
Side Effects is the kind of movie that's hard to write a review for. It's a tight suspensful thriller that does a killer job hiding its true nature, and any mention of the story kind of ruins it, so I won't talk about that. Instead I'll talk about ho well put together it is. You should really just go see it. Seriously I didn't know how much I needed to see it until the end. It's sometimes painful and hard to watch becuase it shows how people's lives can be destroyed by the world we live in, but the ending is very satisfying.
Like I said in my A Good Day to Die Hard review, this has great cinematography It's so tight and anxious and disturbing that you really feel Emily's anxiety. You wish the camera would pan out a just little and be normal so you can have some breathing room. It's all very well paced and well thought-out. The action, though short and far between, is sudden, visceral and very realistic. It's not that it's overly dramatic that makes it so intense, it's that it's so subtle, so small and terrible. The movie does a fantastic job of driving home sudden and horrible violence can be. You don't believe what just happened until it's far too late. The soundtrack is very good as well.
I love how it emulates the American prescription drug culture perfectly. They have a fake ad for Ablixa that I could imagine seeing run in-between, well...pick a TV show. They keep coming out with new drugs with new names that do basicaly the same things. And even though Doctors want to help and want these new drugs to work, they're stil part of the problem. It's all quite fascinating. But even this is all a very good veneer to hide the movie's true nature. When I heard this was from the writer and director of Contagion I was expecting something totally different, and the trailer is very good at masking its true identity. Wouldn't it be amazing if they made Contagion just so they could throw us all off for this Side Effects?
The acting is stupendous. Jude Law is engaging as Doctor Banks, who really wants to help Emily but is slowly coming unhinged. It Roony Mara looks lost and out there most times, doing a steller job of playing a victim of depression and anxiety. We see these two the most and it is both horrifying and amazing to watch them unravel. I even enjoyed Catherine Zeta-Jones' smart doctor. Channing Tatum is Channing Tatum, I wasn't really expecting much and I got I expected. I'm surprised how small the production is. These are the shortest credits in a modern big-budget release you'll ever see. They don't even scroll!
The movie is incredibly suspenseful. It leaves you guessing, has some great twists, and will make you hungry for the ending. I saw it with friends, and usually we crack jokes with every movie, but with this one, we were all silent, anxiously waiting for what was going to happen next.
Side Effects is a tight, suspenseful, well-acted and well shot thriller that you should definitely check out.
THE GOOD: great story, great cinematography nice soundtrack, great acting, lots of suspense, great ending, nice take on the drug industry, great twists.
THE BAD: Can sometimes be painful to watch, some graphic violence, a bit long.
THE VERDICT: $$$$ See it! It's a suspensful thriller that will keep you guessing to the end.
MOVIES LIEK IT: Contagion, Charlie Bartlet, Fracture, Closer, Sleuth
ONE SCENE-METAPHOR: Dr. Blake is trying to get a patrient to sign up for a free trial, explaining all the risks and how he's getting paid for the study. After he tells her it's free, she signs right up. America!