Gentle Readers . . . and Maxwell,
Today I present for your consideration a movie directed by Steven Soderbergh (a great favorite of mine). It's called Contagion, and it's available on DVD (2011, rated PG-13).
Beth Emhoff (Gwyneth Paltrow) is returning to her home in the U.S. after a business trip to Hong Kong. She doesn't feel well, and by the time she arrives, she's definitely ill, and not just suffering from jet lag. Beth's husband, Mitch (Matt Damon), also must pick up his stepson from school because young Clark is sick.
Beth suddenly collapses and has a seizure. She's rushed to the hospital, where she dies. Mitch has difficulty comprehending that his wife has actually passed away, and when he returns home, the babysitter frantically tells him that she thinks Clark has just died.
Thus begins an infectious illness that quickly roams the world, seeking victims. Doctors work frantically to try to isolate the virus and develop a vaccine.
As the virus spreads, so does the panic. Adding to the fear is a very popular blogger (Jude Law), who insists that forsythia is the secret to recovering from the virus.
Crowds mob a pharmacy to obtain forsythia, and when they're told the forsythia has run out, they break the glass above the pharmacy counter in a desperate attempt to obtain help. Looting breaks out all over. Many police officers won't work; nurses go on strike because of the lack of protocol for treating the sick; chaos ensues.
I really like this movie. Soderbergh is a master at building tension, interspersed with moments of quiet kindness and bravery. The performances are excellent. It's practically an all-star cast with Kate Winslet, Laurence Fishburne, Elliott Gould, and Marion Cotillard as doctors. The work to isolate the virus and the geometric rate at which it spreads is quite fascinating.
Contagion has The Janie Junebug Seal of Approval.
WARNING: If you are squeamish about illness and medical matters (Maggie), you won't want to watch this movie. You will see characters who foam at the mouth and have seizures. Even I felt a bit freaked out by a quick scene during which the medical examiner cuts off the top of pretty Gwyneth Paltrow's head while performing the autopsy on her character. This movie is definitely not for children.
Now that I've given you a warning, I must say that this movie is worth watching. I also want to tell you something about Steven Soderbergh that I find very interesting. He serves as his own cinematographer and actually edits the movie as he films it. Great, great director.
Dr. Ian Sussman: Blogging is not writing. It's just graffiti with punctuation.
I wish you all a pleasant weekend.
Infinities of love,