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Sunday, February 10, 2013

Sean Kelly

My Thoughts on Side Effects

SideEffects

There might be minor SPOILERS in this review.

When it comes to curing psychological ailments, it has almost become the norm to just “fix it with a pill.”  People often do not think twice when they take the medication prescribed to them by doctors.  Most of all, we often don’t stop to consider that these pharmaceuticals may affect us in ways that were not intended.  Also, when something does go wrong with medication, who is to blame? The doctor or the patient?

Emily Taylor (Rooney Mara) is a woman in her late 20s, who has been suffering from depression, likely spurred by the fact that her husband Martin (Channing Tatum) was in jail, for most of their five year marriage, for insider trading.  Things don’t get better when Martin is released and Emily promptly drives her car into a wall.  This brings her into the care of Dr. Jonathan Banks (Jude Law), who attempts to help cure Emily’s depression.  His initial prescription seems to have no effect, but at the recommendation of, Emily’s previous psychiatrist, Dr. Victoria Siebert (Catherine Zeta-Jones), Dr. Banks prescribes an experimental new drug to Emily.

At first it seems like the new medication is working.  However, Emily begins to develop some side effects, such as sleepwalking in the middle of the night. Despite these effects, Emily insists on being kept on the medication because she truly feels happy now.  However, Emily soon finds herself accused of a murder that she can’t remember having committed.  He defense is that the medication caused her to commit the crime, at which time the spotlight is pointed at Dr. Banks, who finds his career and reputation threatened by the accusations.  As such, Dr. Banks sets it upon himself to clear his name and get to the bottom about what exactly caused Emily to commit her crime.

Side Effects is reportedly the final theatrical film directed by Steven Soderbergh and I do have to say that it was a pretty enjoyable one.  This type of thriller has been made many times before, but that doesn’t stop it from being entertaining.  This is one of those films, in which you think it’s going in one direction, only for a revelation to be made that results in the film going in a whole other direction.  I can’t really say too much about this change in direction without going into spoiler territory, but I will say that I didn’t really see it coming (though it made sense afterwards).

On the acting side of things, most of the film’s screen time is spent between Jude Law and Rooney Mara.  It’s quite amazing how far Mara’s career has progressed in a few short years.  Despite having the lead in 2010’s Nightmare on Elm Street remake, I doubt anyone would’ve really known her until she hit it big with David Fincher’s 2011 remake of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.  Now, here Mara is as a headlining actress.  Also, you have to say that his involvement with Soderbergh over the last year probably helped out Channing Tatum’s career (I believe this is their third collaboration in a row).

It remains to be seen whether Steven Soderbergh truly retires from directing (he still has an HBO film about Liberace on deck), but I will say that Side Effects was a pretty enjoyable swan song.

8 | LIKED IT

Sean Kelly

About Sean Kelly -

Sean Patrick Kelly is a self-described ├╝ber-geek, who has been an avid film lover for all his life. He graduated from York University in 2010 with an honours B.A. in Cinema and Media Studies and he likes to believe he knows what he’s talking about when he writes about film (despite occasionally going on pointless rants).