When COVID-19 spread, you almost knew there would be films that would capitalize on the panic and fear of the pandemic. They came – of course – and the better films from those early days focused on the human element. Isolation, loneliness, that sort of thing. Understandably, most people were reluctant to deal directly with a pandemic story.

But then Steven Soderbergh and author Scott Z. Burns had already dreamed up a chilling ode to the horrors of a killer virus almost a decade earlier. Prescient and poignant, it was no surprise that people flocked there again in the early days of COVID-19.

The contagion came on this day in 2011, and at the time the science-based interpretation of the effects of an airborne virus seemed quite fanciful. Even when there had been epidemics in parts of the world, making frightening headlines in countries not really affected, this still seemed a distant possibility.

In Contagion, a woman returns from a business trip to Hong Kong and dies of what appears to be a flu-like infection. Then her little son dies that same day. However, the woman’s husband appears to be immune.

The ensemble cast emphasizes the paranoia and fear of Contagion

Photo credit: Warner Bros.

Soderbergh exploits his ability to manipulate an ensemble in these early moments in fantastic and frightening ways. The film’s cast includes Gwyneth Paltrow, Jude Law, Matt Damon, Marion Cotillard, Kate Winslet, Bryan Cranston, Laurence Fishburne and Elliot Gould. Soderbergh does everything right, but then he pulls off a shocking twist in which a well-known actor dies relatively quickly. There’s no better way to state that no one is safe from what’s to come. Even immunity does not protect people from suffering from the unexpected death of loved ones.

This is our entry point at the start of a pandemic where the airborne virus is wreaking havoc. Doctors at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control are soon realizing the extent of the virus’s reach. They race against the clock to identify the virus and find a cure for it.

The global increase in the number of cases is now causing considerable unrest and panic. As we know all too well, answers simply cannot come quickly enough to stop the impact.

Soderbergh has immersed himself in horror throughout his storied directing career, most notably in 2018’s “Unsane,” and is set to dive into it in his upcoming film, “Presence.” But the cold, clinical science of “Contagion” is perhaps the most masterful use of it in his filmography.

Yes, Contagion plays things to the extreme end of the spectrum. But that’s exactly why it seemed like a strange comfort in the early days of our real-world pandemic. The situation is dire, but look how dire it could so easily be. The parallels between reality and fiction were incredibly close back then.

Unfortunately, life turned out to be stranger than fiction. Reality has proven that it can lead to a disturbing turn in how people really behave in a pandemic. Could Soderbergh have predicted anti-maskers?

Source : www.comingsoon.net

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *