Written by / 2/17/2013 / No comments / , , , , , ,

STEVEN SODERBERGH BIDS FAREWELL TO CINEMA W/ SIDE EFFECTS

Year Released: 2013
Move over Prozac, the ultimate depression drug is out there, and Rooney Mara’s Emily Taylor really needs it. Her husband (Channing Tatum in a filler, Janet Leigh type of "Surprisingly quick" role) just got out of jail and doesn’t seem completely done with shady deals.

Emily crashes her car into a wall, on purpose, and recovers in a mental ward where we meet Jude Law’s Dr. Jonathan Banks, a psychologist, husband, step-father, and all around good guy. With a mellow yet attentive countenance, Dr. Jon takes a particular interest in Emily, getting info from her former shrink (Catherine Zeta-Jones), who winds up prescribing the wonder drug that might help Emily’s problems: but there are, uh, SIDE EFFECTS… Or actually just one that causes the plot to shift from an involving, smartly paced suspense film into a medical mystery that, weaving in and out of melodrama, is hit and (mostly) miss.

SideEffectScore: **1/2
Rooney Mara provides a vulnerable, porcelain doll damsel who initially deserves rescue by Jude Law, a fun actor to watch whether he's spouting dialogue or intensely listening to someone else’s. Meanwhile, last-time feature director Steven Soderbergh (supposedly quitting his day job after he could only make his Liberace biopic on cable) keeps a metronomic pace backed by a sleepy jazz score, as if the entire movie were on its own ominous medication. In this particular case, the side effect is replacing that intriguing perfect drug with a "perfect murder" plot that gets way too convoluted for its own good. And so, instead of top-shelf Soderbergh we have yet another standard Hitchcock inspired outing.
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