Side Effects ★★★

While I got a severe case of the Plausibles as this went on and an uncomfortably misogynist triumphalism in its ending, the unwaveringly cynical, clinical tone and Soderbergh's razor-sharp direction elevated the otherwise lurid, banal material. Myriad themes (financial pressures, upward mobility in the face of economic crisis, courtroom dealmaking, experimental risks and collusion in the pharmaceutical industry), interesting in their own individual rights, dance on the periphery before being jettisoned for the ultimately sub-DePalma-esque plots of sexual blackmail and emotional transference. A few isolated moments stick out: the made-to-be-remembered shot of Rooney Mara seeing her fractured self in a mirror, and the recurring visual trope of a face approaching and suddenly coming into focus from an out-of-focus background. Nifty if ultimately superficial.

Also I missed the apparently bravura Psycho-esque opening shot because the concession line beforehand was so damn long.

Report this review