Feb

11

 SIDE EFFECTS

Directed by Steven Soderbergh

A cleverly plotted film that only reluctantly becomes evident, SIDE EFFECTS is a roller-coaster Hitchcockian ride starring a taut Jude Law, and a nearly unrecognizable Rooney Mara, a buttoned-up Catherine Zeta-Jones and Polly Draper (she of the whiskey voice from "Thirty Something").

Hate to say too much about the plot, since one of the rewarding parts of seeing this film is discovering what's going on, but nominally: A young New York couple's tidy world unravels when a new anti-anxiety drug prescribed by Emily's (Rooney Mara) psychiatrist has unexpected effects—on patient, husband (Channing Tatum) and others. Don't expect Tatum, beefcake delectable, to visit through more than the briefest of celluloid. The baddies in this thriller are not whom or what you originally think, especially given the title. BTW: The pharma industry now dubs them "adverse events," which neatly avoids the chilling taint connoted by the earlier, more popularly known term.

One of the choicer elements of the film is its exceptional photography; one sees a Gotham that is not the tired vernacular. This scenic Trou Normand may coast under one's cognition radar, but it is elegant, almost-Gordon Willis-level cinematography (from Woody Allen's more elegiac films), a gift floated to the receptive viewer. Audience members, many of them apparently physicians and therapists, gabbed with each other afterwards, discussing their take on the goings-on, comparing notes from their practices.


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