Movie Review: Contagion (2011)


Plot: Healthcare professionals, government officials and everyday people find themselves in the midst of a worldwide epidemic as the CDC works to find a cure.


Rating: 6.5/10

There are a few things that really excite me: Epic South-African sporting victories over other countries, stationary, exciting and well written books, intense movies and outbreaks of mutant diseases. I think my interest in epidemics is what motivated me the most to go into microbiology – it’s fascinating to consider how such a small thing can constantly change to keep humanity on its’ knees.

Therefore I was rather excited to watch Contagion. I didn’t enjoy it all that much, however, although it wasn’t bad or anything. I think what was mostly wrong is that they didn’t know what they wanted to do with the movie. If I’m going to watch a movie like this I want to see things like symptoms of the virus, mutation and diagnosing – all of which were mostly ignored. The spread of the disease got some coverage and that I enjoyed, particularly noting again how many times people touch each other and things on a daily basis. I thought that anyone who watched this without medical background could very easily be bored and confused. They attempted to show that the fear surrounding the epidemic made the epidemic that much worse and I do agree with that but it still felt jumpy and confusing.

The cast is really solid and that contributed greatly to the marginal success of the film – all over the globe the epidemic was spreading and everyone was freaking out. It did feel that the characters were all over the place and they could only get a certain amount of attention before having to focus on something else.

I would have loved to have known what Marion Cottliard’s character finally got up to when she realized that the government had given a small Chinese community placebo’s instead of real vaccines, because she just got up and left the airport but nothing really else.

I really enjoyed Matt Damon’s portrayal as Mitch Emhoff. He was the guy on the ground that you could associate with and how his fear stayed tangible after he was declared immune because his daughter could still contract the disease.

I absolutely loathed Jude Law as Alan Krumwiede. I could quite literally carry on for days about people like him and his ridiculous beliefs. He was so cocky, arrogant and power hungry and I just wanted to slap him at the end of it.

I was reminded of some truths:

That the government will always be seen as wrong during outbreaks.

That I absolutely HATE Anti-Vaxxers. If there is one thing on this planet that makes me see red it is a bunch of people that will endanger their lives as well as those of their children because they went on the internet and got some “information” that convinces them that vaccines causes autism. How can you blindly ignore the overwhelming evidence of the positive impact vaccines have had on our society?

That clinical trials are both necessary and paralyzing to society. The first thing you ever learn in clinical trials is the importance of it and the ramifications of what happens when a vaccine hasn’t been completely tested for safety. History has evidence of clinical trials at its worst and what had been done to prevent it from ever happening again. However, and I think it is going to become a big issue as tropical disease outbreaks increase with rising temperatures that a faster way is needed to prove the efficacy and safety of vaccines.

Contagion had ridiculous moments – WHO and the CDC are much more adept at controlling spread of viruses and it went downhill the second the doctor injected herself with the vaccine and tested it by coming in contact with her infected father.  She would probably have lost her job and sent to a mental facility, not applauded.

I think if a movie like this was released now it would be highly popular in light of the Ebola outbreak but it would really have to be better developed. I had a marginally good time with this, although I do think that there was a lot of wasted potential that eventually happened.

Overall, the movie had some ridiculous moments but I still had a fine time watching a movie about a topic I have some knowledge about.