All County, All the Time Since 2010 MAKE THIS YOUR PRINCE EDWARD COUNTY HOME...PAGE!  Wednesday, December 2nd, 2020

Come face-to-face with your unwashed hands in Contagion

This is probably as good a time as any to be a germophobe. Maybe Howie Mandell has it right and we should all just go to the fist-bump and stop shaking hands altogether.
Germs are everywhere and now that they’re becoming industrial strength movies like Contagion, they are closer to a documentary than science fiction. This is not the first time this idea has been tackled. I don’t know if anyone did it better than Stephen King did in The Stand, in terms of chronicalling how it would spread.
From the Andromeda Strain to Outbreak, we have danced around the idea of a pandemic. Even Planet of the Apes ends with the virus that wipes out humans spreading.
I liked Contagion and thinks it works better than most but it has an all-star pedigree.
The cast is strong: Gwyneth Paltrow, Matt Damon, Kate Winslet. Damon continues to entertain if not impress. His movies don’t always translate to big box office success but they rarely stink and I’m slowly becoming a big fan. He’s just a dad here who happens to be immune to the killer, through breeding or who knows, and he wants to protect his daughter from catching it. Her mom, Paltrow, has already lost the battle and while she may not have been patient 1, she sure helped spread it.

Kate Winslet is a strangely muted investigator who’s responsibility is to identify the disease and eradicate it. She’s such a good actress this almost seems like a waste of her talent although it is entertaining. Fishbourne is the head of the SDC, whipping boy, and in a huge concession to the times we live in Jude Law is the blogger. Why is that relevant or how does a blogger become a character in the movie?
Because as this spreads, so does the fear and chaos that comes as the things that bind us as a society unravel.
I am a big fan of director Steven Soderberg. His list of films is impressive and then some. I remember when Sex Lies and Videotape was the break-out hit at Cannes and Sundance and people were saying this guy was the next big thing. It’s nice when they’re right since it rarely happens. He teams with writer Scott Z Burns again and it works really well.
The formula for telling a big story by telling a little one is one of my favorite conventions of the cinema. This movie is about the end of the world, but really only as it applies to a dad and his daughter.
We see how the disease can spread. We’re drawn into how unclean our world is as we track the germs through the eyes of Spoderberg’s camera.
I’m sure people were wishing they’d bought hand sanitizer instead of popcorn and no doubt a few weren’t able to eat their salty snacks as they raised a handful up and came face-to-face with their unwashed hands.
The film is extremely effective.
It gets all the ramifications of what would happen with a pandemic.
There will be sociological issues and no doubt it will affect social strata. If you don’t think there will be socio-economic implications during a pandemic then enjoy your view of the sand.
This was the most intriguing element to the film for me. The impact on people is profound. The global village collapses, the government does it’s usual coverup or so it seems, and panic spreads. People respond by looting and rioting and there is as much collateral damage as their is primary.

We all believe that technology will save us from just about anything. It’s our new religion.

Soderberg doesn’t promote dissent or try to cause panic. There is hope in the film as they scramble to find a vaccine.
I enjoyed Contagion. It’s very ambitious and all I really wanted was to be entertained anyway. Soderberg delivers and under two hours. It might be the end of the world but it doesn’t have to take all night.
As always, other opinions are welcome, but wrong. That’s it for this week. The cheque’s in the mail and I’m outta here. Paul

Filed Under: Paul Peterson

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