Contagion (2011)

Posted: November 26, 2011 in Drama
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Beth Emhoff (Gweneth Paltrow) is a business executive who contracts a virus in Hong Kong, and unknowingly spreads it throughout Hong Kong and gives it to her son Clark Morrow (Griffin Kane) .  Beth also gives the virus to her lover in Chicago, but her husband Mitch, (Matt Damon) is immune to the virus.  Dr.  Ellis Cheever  (Lawrence Fishburne) is a scientist from the Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta, sends out Dr. Ellen Mears (Kate Winslett) out to investigate the virus in Minnesota, Dr. Mears ultimately catches the virus, and cannot be brought to Atlanta soon enough to save her.  Meanwhile Dr. Lenora Orantes (Marion Coutillard) of the World Health is sent to Hong Kong to study the virus from ground zero. Lenora is kidnapped by Li Fai, (Tien You Chui) her translator, to put his village in the front of the line for a vaccine. Dr. Ian Sussman (Elliot Gould) has succeeded in growing the virus, so that Dr Ally Hextall (Jennifer Ehle) can work on a human vaccine. But blogger Alan Krumweide )Jude Law) , a conspiracy theorist, says the government already has a vaccine that cures the virus, and is recommending Forsythia, a homeopathic remedy for the virus.  Krumweide is also making a stink about Ellis Cheever getting his girlfriend Aubrey (Sanaa Lathan) out of Chicago before she gets infected.  Do the scientists find a vaccine? Does Forsythia work?

This is a surprisingly unaffecting movie about a worldwide viral outbreak.  I didn’t feel like this movie drew me in partially because there were so many storylines, and not many of the storylines were engaging.  Matt Damon is left to mourn a wife who cheating on him, and to be an overprotective father to a rambunctious teen daughter.  Paltrow plays an unsympathetic modern day Typhoid Mary,  who is spreading the disease wherever she goes, and cheating on Matt Damon.  Kate Winslet is absolutely wasted as an earnest scientist, who is trying to treat early victims of the virus.  Marion Coutillard is similarly wasted as a do-gooder scientist, who falls victim to the Stockholm Syndrome.  Elliot Gould’s storyline just ends after he grows the virus,  The most interesting characters  are Fishburne’s conflicted strong character, and Jude Law’s conspiracy theory blogger.  When they are on the screen, the movie comes alive.  When they are not, the movie is just a series of barely related events. Traffic was much better.  Erin Brockovich was better.  Contagion is an unfocused mob of underdeveloped characters

Contagion:  Spread the word, this movie is not that good.


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