director Steven Soderbergh
viewed: 02/09/2013 at AMC Metreon 16, SF, CA
Side Effects is a quite entertaining thriller from director Steven Soderbergh, who claims that it will be his final feature film. Will it be his last? Who knows. But it is a good flick, a twisty-turny story of lives lived in and around prescription pharmaceuticals, namely anti-depressants. To say more in a lot of ways would ruin the movie for you.
It stars Rooney Mara as the depressive wife of a man imprisoned for insider trading. That man is Channing Tatum, Soderbergh’s current male muse. Jude Law is the psychiatrist who happens upon Mara after a suicide attempt, the man who becomes her therapist and medicator. For quite a while, it seems that the film is kind of going after the anti-depressant industry. But then it turns out to be the aforementioned thriller, trading off on a topical point for its key narrative devices.
Mara, who was so good in David Fincher’s The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo (2011), is both lovely and riveting as the crux of this movie’s manic-depressive heart. Everybody does well in the film, typical of Soderbergh who has had good relationships with his stars and actors, giving them juicy roles and letting them do their thing. And this is him hitting all his marks and getting a good, solid film out of the process.
Personally, I hope that Soderbergh keeps making films. He’s not as daring as all that but he likes to mix it up. And as much as he likes to mix it up, he likes to make a crowd pleaser, typically intelligent-seeming crowd pleasers. And of that ilk, Side Effects is a good example.