|2013||106 Min||Thriller . Drama . Crime|
A woman turns to prescription medication as a way of handling her anxiety concerning her husband's upcoming release from prison.
|Actors:||Vinessa Shaw , Catherine Zeta-Jones , Channing Tatum , Jude Law , Rooney Mara , David Costabile , Polly Draper , Andrea Bogart , Mamie Gummer , Ann Dowd|
He’s taken what, on paper, boils down to an extra ridiculous episode of “Law and Order: Criminal Intent” and passes it off as high cinematic art.
By the time the satisfying conclusion rolls around, though, it proves to be much more about the ability of a world-class director to induce such willing suspension of disbelief that even the loopiest narrative developments seem like the most natural thing in the world.
Side Effects virtually demands a three-word review: Just see it.
This clever bag of tricks is made with so much cinematic skill it makes implausibility irrelevant. What happens on screen is unapologetically far-fetched, but it unfolds with enough panache to make turning away out of the question.
In another sense, though, everything is exactly what it seems, expertly crafted and cleverly compounded for high-dose entertainment.
While the plot may be predictable (and more than a little preposterous) in retrospect, Mr. Soderbergh handles it brilliantly, serving notice once again that he is a crackerjack genre technician.
Ultimately, think of the movie as a puzzle box in which all the pieces fit together wonderfully well. Once you step back and take a look at how it’s all put together, you have to marvel at how cleverly constructed the whole thing is.
Side Effects, chilly and noirish, and boasting a wily performance from Catherine Zeta-Jones as a therapist who worked with Emily earlier in her adulthood, is, Soderbergh says, his swan song.
Imagine music for a sorcery-related plot and then dial it down to ominous forebodings. Without Thomas Newman's score, Side Effects would be a lesser film, even another film.
Side Effects is Soderbergh in full, flinty vigor. It's anything but a formula murder mystery.
Like his underappreciated "Haywire," Side Effects screws around in its own thriller architecture, toying with feints of structure and clever bits of misdirection, and otherwise playing the audience like a fiddle. At this point in his career, Soderbergh pulls it off with the unpracticed ease of a maestro.
Side Effects is mostly a good Saturday-night movie, but by the end, it's caused a few unintended side effects of its own: a bit of head-scratching, and a giggle or two of disbelief.
The scenes pile up with frenetic intensity; as with Soderbergh's other recent exercises in the suspense genre, no single cutaway goes wasted.
We may lose Soderbergh to painting, theatre and HBO-fuelled TV, and that’s a crying shame. If that’s the case, Side Effects is a great note on which to go out.
The movie respects a viewer’s intelligence, which should also serve as a warning; don’t be lulled into a stupor. Keeping sharp will allow all the fun and menace in this terrific thriller to seep into your head.
If Side Effects, an immensely pleasurable thriller centering around psychotropic drugs, really is Steven Soderbergh's final big-screen film, as the director claims it will be, then he has peaked in the Valley of the Dolls.
Soderbergh’s alleged last theatrical film is paranoid and hopeless, but he leaves the field with a bounce in his step.
Steven Soderbergh's elegantly coiled puzzler spins a tale of clinical depression and psychiatric malpractice into an absorbing, cunningly unpredictable entertainment that, like much of his recent work, closely observes how a particular subset of American society operates in a needy, greedy, paranoid and duplicitous age.
You never really see any of it coming, which is what makes the film such a marvel – and so difficult to discuss.
The main thing to keep in mind while watching Steven Soderbergh’s thriller Side Effects is not to take the movie too seriously or else you’ll feel betrayed by the end.
A sleekly clever murder mystery, the film plays as many games with the audience as it does with its characters, and for the majority of the running time — the challenge comes from matching wits with what you’re seeing.
But it’s Rooney who commands the most attention. As she already proved in David Fincher’s "The Social Network" and "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo," she has an oddly fascinating screen presence, suggesting both vulnerability and inscrutable levels of calculation. Few actors or actresses can make inexpressiveness look so smart.
I walked out of Steven Soderbergh’s Side Effects thinking to myself, “Finally, a mainstream 2013 movie I can whole-heartedly recommend’’ — then quickly added, “well, except that it will probably piss off a sizeable portion of the target audience.’’
It's a gripping, maddening and thoroughly satisfying thriller, made with artfulness and integrity. Soderbergh sees things in his actors and gets things from them that other directors don't.
With Rooney Mara as the woman in question — a poised, tense Manhattanite prescribed anti-anxiety medication by her psychiatrist with newsworthy results — Side Effects finds its ideal performer.
There's something delightfully old-fashioned about Steven Soderbergh's Side Effects. It's the kind of thriller that Alfred Hitchcock might make if he was still alive and active today.
Steven Soderbergh, rightly considered one of Hollywood’s smartest movie makers, is at his cleverest in Side Effects, a canny, cunning big idea thriller in a minor key, an engrossing zeitgeist whodunit about Wall Street, Big Pharma, prescription drugs and the power we give psychiatry and psychologists.
The picture's conspiratorial late-night tone and fleshy after hours luridness was practically built for watching at night, when our parents think we've gone off to bed (think '80s films directed by folks like Adrian Lyne).
It’s masterfully shot and edited, with a brooding soundtrack and a mysterious, dreamlike undertow – and, when all is revealed, it’s not even half as interesting as it seems to be.
Some of these revelations feel like clever reversals, others like calculated rug-pulls, but we never stop caring about what happens next.
Soderbergh and screenwriter Scott Z. Burns maintain a tone of taut creepiness, but the plot’s double and triple crosses are more ingenious than believable.
Like Magic Mike, Side Effects is enlivened by Soderbergh's jazzy style and laidback moralism, bringing to mind the work of another connoisseur of genre, Robert Altman.
It’s a reasonably diverting piece of work, falling somewhere between the high of "Magic Mike" (2012) and the low of "Haywire" (2011), among his recent efforts.
Like a lot of meds, it loses its effectiveness over time, and you'll build a resistance to Effects eventually, particularly when it dissolves into a standard crime flick.
Like a gel cap in a sip of orange juice, the psycho-pharmacological thriller Side Effects goes down easily, even if its long-term impact turns out to be barely discernible.
In trying to merge this alarmist theme with an old-fashioned murder mystery, the filmmakers throw at least one plot-twist sucker-punch too many, leaving the viewer with an “Oh, come on” reaction to the entire film.
The movie maintains its sense of style throughout, but that hardly matters as the story just gets stupider and stupider.
What it turns out to be is a preposterous puzzle that fails every test under scrutiny, leaving the spectator with a “Huh?” that is meant to be uttered only while chewing gum.
1. The Forgotten People ( Performer: Thievery Corporation )
2. Orchestral Suite No. 2 in B Minor, BWV 1067 - Menuet & Rondeau ( Performer: Alice Hamlet, Jessica Nelson, and Ann Marie Yoo )
3. Very Sick Girl (Main Title) ( Performer: Thomas Newman Itunes )
4. Malingering ( Performer: Thomas Newman Itunes )
5. Another Acquittal ( Performer: Thomas Newman Itunes )
6. Take Back Tomorrow (End Title) ( Performer: Thomas Newman Itunes )
7. Past Behaviour ( Performer: Thomas Newman Itunes )
8. Houston Free Meds ( Performer: Thomas Newman Itunes )
9. Relativity ( Performer: Thomas Newman Itunes )
10. St. Luke's ( Performer: Thomas Newman Itunes )
11. Hopelessness ( Performer: Thomas Newman Itunes )
12. Salt Water ( Performer: Thomas Newman Itunes )
13. Poisonous Fog ( Performer: Thomas Newman Itunes )
14. Allison Finn ( Performer: Thomas Newman Itunes )
15. Dark & Stormy ( Performer: Thomas Newman Itunes )
16. Acute Parasomnia ( Performer: Thomas Newman Itunes )
17. Knife ( Performer: Thomas Newman Itunes )
18. Conduct Review ( Performer: Thomas Newman Itunes )
19. Double Jeopardy ( Performer: Thomas Newman Itunes )