Contagion - A Review
I just went to see the movie Contagion, and I must say, it was pretty great. The movie chronicles the reactions of primarily the Center for Disease Control (CDC), the World Health Organization (WHO), and the general public to an uncontrolled very serious pandemic.
There will be spoilers here but I will write them in white text so if you want to read them, just highlight any "blank" areas.
The way the CDC proceeded, led by Dr. Ellis Cheever (Laurence Fishburne), and dealt with other government agencies and the military was generally believable and sound with one notable exception which I will delve into below. The ancillary characters are well-played and you really feel for Mitch Emhoff (Matt Damon) when both his wife and son-in-law die from the virus, for Dr. Erin Mears (Kate Winslet) when she contracts the virus she is trying to protect the public from and dies, and for many of the other smaller characters.
The scene with "Health Ranger" blogger Alan Krumwiede (Jude Law) and disease scientist Dr. Ian Sussman (Elliot Gould) is funny in that Sussman says that being a blogger is not like being a journalist and that, "...blogging is like graffiti with punctuation." I really hope a medical blog starts soon with the title "Punctuated Graffiti". That needs to happen.
The one scene that bothered me a bit was an interview on CNN (or its movie counterpart) where Dr. Sanjay Gupta - playing himself - is interviewing Dr. Cheever while the pandemic is in the throes of killing millions. The obligatory contrary viewpoint is offered by Krumwiede who says the standard conspiracy stuff about the CDC and WHO being "in bed" with Big Pharma and that Cheever won't tell everyone that there is a cure for the virus in forsythia, which Krumwiede is promoting, for which he is getting paid very well. When Dr. Cheever hears about the "cure", he says that the CDC are looking at all options and are checking into forsythia, "...along with other homeopathic remedies".
Now, anyone who knows anything about homeopathy will know that the head fella at the CDC would never, NEVER say that they're looking at the utter nonsense that is homeopathy for help during a killer pandemic. It was the only laughable moment in and otherwise fantastic movie.
The ending is freaky as well (not that you'd know from the exit-mumblings of the tweenagers who said things like, "Gaahh, that was the lamest movie evaaarrr") where the film-makers take you rapidly through the process of how the virus came to patient zero. It was interesting and plausible and scarily easy.
That's about it. Check it out, but try to stay away from the mumbly tweens. They should all go see Drive Angry - shot in 3D or something anyway. And stay off my lawn.
I hope the spoilers didn't mess anybody up.