Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Side Effects

And so it seems that Steven Soderbergh is disillusioned with Hollywood and the film making process and is taking a sabbatical/retirement. Let's hope it's a sabbatical and he gets his mojo back, after all he gave us amongst others 'Erin Brokovich', The 'Ocean's' franchise, 'Sex Lies and Videotape', 'Traffic', 'Magic Mike' and the underestimated and ridiculously sexy 'Out of Sight'. If it's a retirement, we're losing a really wonderful and inspired director and for that we who love movies should all feel a great loss. For his grande finale, he has chosen to direct a little gem of a thriller, Side Effects. Jude Law plays Dr Jon Banks a psychiatrist who treats a suicidally depressed woman named Emily Taylor (Rooney Mara) whose husband Martin (Channing Tatum) has just been released from prison after four years for insider trading. Dr Banks is up to his sea green/aqua blue eyeballs in work and takes on a paid role to trial a new anti-depressant ablixa which Emily eventually ends up taking after the incompatibility of other anti-depressants. After a shocking turn of events, Jon finds himself under the magnifying glass and turns to Emily's former psychiatrist Dr Victoria Siebert (a frail looking Catherine Zeta-Jones) for some answers. Emily ends up in court and Jon's ethics are questioned when an incident involving a former female patient is uncovered. Nothing however is quite as it seems and as he digs deeper, Dr Banks uncovers a dark world which threatens to ruin his career and his marriage. Jude Law is very convincing in his portrayal of an initially relaxed professional at the top of his game who slowly unravels as events take over. He is a somewhat overlooked actor, dismissed as a 'pretty boy' but he's very accomplished and without vanity, not a hint of botox or indeed weave in sight, which makes him all the more attractive and I haven't seen a man look as good in a cardi since Daniel Craig in 'Girl with the Dragon Tattoo', something about English men and woollens evidently...Rooney Mara is also good as the isolated and confused Emily, she's not a million miles away from her role as Lisbeth in the aforementioned movie, but she shows promise, though appears much younger than her character's age of 28. It's refreshing to see the likeable Tatum as something more than beefcake, again, he has a promising career ahead if he sticks to these meatier (pun intended) roles that he seems to be able to cope with. Whilst we're on the subject of Channing, is it just me or does he have a face that is most unusual? It's also a delight to see Catherine Zeta-Jones back on form as the spiky secretive Dr Seiber, though her make up artist would do well to steer clear of the darker lipsticks and Malificent-like eyebrows, we're not in the nineties now and it's quite distracting. It was a thrilling surprise to be transported to a rip roaring thriller, which I thoroughly enjoyed. This wouldn't be a review without a few little gripes though would it? I felt that all of the guilt was unrealistically shifted on Dr Banks, I really don't think, in fact I know that in real life this wouldn't have happened. The series of events wasn't his fault, and his partners turned on him quicker than you can say psychoanalysis. Also, in some nicely played scenes, his marriage is depicted as happy, he's a thoughtful and kind husband and stepfather, a little too hard working and distracted but better that than a jobless loser. I do think Jude Law has, for want of a better analogy mellowed like a fine wine, a very fine wine so I may be biased. Call me old fashioned but when you are lucky, oh so lucky enough to marry a handsome, kind, funny and smart man that fancies the pants off you and loves your son, don't you own him the benefit of the doubt rather than pissing off at the first sign of trouble? If I'd been him, I would have thought twice about whether I would want a faithless wife back after that, maybe pick myself a nice single nurse who shares the same curious phenomenon as he of a right pointed ear to dote on or something..... The message of the film, if there is one seems to be the compulsion that the modern world has on fixing things, the relentless pursuit of happiness which leads to so many anti-depressants being plied onto the masses. Also that if a colleague/partner/loved one messes up or is in trouble, finger point, leave them to flounder and look after yourself without a backward glance, which a jaded cynic may say seems to sum up the twenty first century. Anyway apart from these small issues, it's a great film, exciting and fun with some Hitchcockian twists and turns. It seems that they do make them like they used to, or they did before Mr Soderbergh retired/sabatted. SIDE EFFECTS: The Law of Attraction 7/10

No comments:

Post a Comment