‘Contagion’ Ultimately Pleases Critics and Audiences

Acclaimed director Steven Soderbergh’s latest movie “Contagion” hit theaters recently. The star-studded film is the latest to explore what would happen if an airborne epidemic got out of control. Did critics and moviegoers think “Contagion” was worth catching in the theater or did they immediately leave wanting to wash their hands of the whole affair?

“Contagion” didn’t affect critics in a bad way. Kathleen Murphy of MSN Movies stated, “‘Contagion’ is admirable as a highly controlled, verging-on-Kubrickian exercise in directorial vision and style.” TIME Magazine’s Richard Corliss wrote, “The film efficiently accumulates small, terrifying incidents and images.” Roger Ebert of Chicago Sun-Times reported, “‘Contagion’ deserves praise for taking the scientific method seriously when so much hogwash is floated about regarding vaccines.”

A few top reviewers felt sick after taking in “Contagion.” Variety’s Peter Debruge complained, “Without fully rounded characters, it’s hard to care who lives or dies in what amounts to an extended procedural on how disease prevention orgs might respond to such a scenario.” Lisa Kennedy of the Denver Post related, “Steven Soderbergh””¹’s viral ‘who brung it’ is a mostly style-over-substance affair.” New York Daily News’ Joe Neumaier declared, “There’s a sense of dread in ‘Contagion,’ but it never spreads to us. When Day One is finally shown, it makes you want to eat better, which isn’t the same as saying this is a great movie.”

Moviegoers didn’t seem to have the same positive reaction to “Contagion,” although a majority of them did like it. Elise C said, “Pretty realistic of what could happen if we had this situation during the social media age. Probably would avoid this movie if you’re prone to paranoia though.” Danny R. exclaimed, “A brilliant, nightmarish, apocalyptic all-star thriller which is superbly directed by Steven Soderbergh. A thought-provoking, deeply disturbing, realistic disaster epic! Highly Recommended.” Ken S. claimed, “Hands down the best movie I’ve seen this year. Great performances, a riveting script and realistic direction makes watching ‘Contagion’ an absolutely nail biting experience from frame one.”

There were more audience members than would have been expected that felt “Contagion” was anemic. Grant J. remarked, “You realize at the end that the story was some people get sick–some people don’t… everyone’s story is left unanswered… and the more you think about it, the more this was a movie that told you nothing.” Anthony S. stated, “Literally the worst movie I have ever seen in my life. The plot was terrible, the science was B.S., the story made no sense, and 85% of the movie was a bunch of recycled scenes.”

Family entertainment website Movieguide.org wrote, “‘Contagion’ has very positive moral elements [and] doctors serving and saving people. However, it has a depressing theme. Also, the story doesn’t seem to have a clearly defined, dramatic beginning, middle, and end. Along with its positive elements, the movie contains some foul language and violence. ‘Contagion’ had a lot of potential but doesn’t live up to it.”

Steve Soderbergh directed “Contagion.” It stars Matt Damon, Kate Winslet, Jude Law, Laurence Fishburne, and Gwyneth Paltrow. The movie is rated PG-13 for disturbing content and some language. It was released through Warner Bros. Pictures on September 9, 2011.

For more articles by Eric Shirey, check out:

Four Movies like ‘Contagion’ to Help Spread Panic
Sci-Fi, Horror, and Fantasy Films Starring ‘Contagion’ Actor Matt Damon
‘InSight’ Provides Clever Spins on Familiar Thriller Territory

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