16 – Side Effects (2013) | ★★½
Plot: A young woman being treated for her depression with a trial drug experiences an underlying side effect that will bring more chaos than good.
It was around the time of release of Side Effects when Steven Soderbergh announced his retirement in directing hollywood films (which we know now is as all but a PR stunt probably just to hype up this particular film of his). His earlier works were good, judging by the accolades Traffic had gotten him. Me, I am big fan of his other film Contagion and I am thinking of when to binge watch his Cinemax series The Knick toplined by Clive Owen. So it did kind of blow when I finally had the time to watch Side Effects. So high expectations, so little payoff.
On the movies I’ve seen of his, he’s developed a habit of shooting still and capturing his actor/s release emotional dilemmas. Mara was given a canvass to paint here although it really felt short. There’s no other description for it. Law however, I believe still has it.
Narrative-wise, there’s a power pull from the characters presented. Soderbergh, as usual, knows how to deliver the thrills by eliciting just the right amount of suspicion from the viewers but still leaves them suspended. There’s a ton of things that could happen but I’m somehow stifled, which is a sign that the writing is good. Then at the last act, the unraveling happened, which I must say, again, is good writing, and yet I can’t believe why I am not satisfied with it. I did not enjoy watching it as much as I would have wanted to. It’s good but it’s not entertaining. And this I believe is the reason I may never watch it again nor recommend it.
“You know what the best predictor of future behavior is? Past behavior.”
– Jonathan Banks
Runtime: 1hr 46min (IMDb)
Cast: Rooney Mara, Jude Law, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Channing Tatum