side-effects2

Soderbergh’s ‘Side Effects’ enlightens as it darkens in plot

Feb 20 • Arts & Leisure • 314

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We all take medication. Some of us do more so than others. But we often overlook what side effects may occur from those daily prescription drugs we take.

Director Steven Soderbergh explores this topic in “Side Effects,” another solid psychological thriller filled with great acting and excellent pace.

“Side Effects” stars Rooney Mara as Emily Taylor, an increasingly depressed woman married to a man (Channing Tatum) who recently was released from prison after serving a four-year term for insider trading.

Taylor soon finds herself at a hospital after an apparent suicide attempt. Jonathan Banks (Jude Law), a high-profile psychiatrist, releases her from the hospital under the terms that she’ll attend therapy sessions with him.

Banks later prescribes her  a certain pill which is supposed to alleviate the depression, but it contains certain side effects which include nausea, insomnia and sleep walking.

The medication slowly starts to ruin not only her activity at work but also her home life with her husband.

Soderbergh has always shown the ability to turn a vapid script into something that can entertain the movie viewer.

On the outside, most of his movies carry a banal plot that share many similarities with movies that have come before his own.

However, Soderbergh adds a unique style that is entertaining as it is engaging to watch.

No matter what script he’s been given, he never  disappoints by somehow magically transforming “ugly” into “sexy.”

All of his movies exhibit great pace, no matter how dull the premise or script is.

They seamlessly transition from one scene to the next extremely well, which is possibly his best attribute as a filmmaker and the one that also makes him one of the most underrated directors in the industry.

“Side Effects” is no different from any other Soderbergh movie. Just when the movie delivers a shocking twist, another one arrives five or six minutes later.

Soderbergh also has help from a great cast. Mara, who was nominated for an Oscar in her role as Lisbeth Salander in “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo,” does an exceptional job in the lead role. Law also provides a solid supporting role.

“Side Effects” probably won’t win an Oscar because of the timing of its theatrical release, but it is a strong addition to the growing and ever impressive Soderbergh filmography. Although we’re not far into the new year, Soderbergh’s latest film is so far the best in cinema that 2013 has to offer.

 

JACOB TARR

tarr003@knights.gannon.edu

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