Sunday, 10 March 2013

Side Effects

Side Effects appeared in the listings with next to no advertising.  Luckily a very convincing trailer had played in the cinema last week otherwise the film would have passed me by completely.
PLOT:  After her husband Martin (Channing Tatum) is released from prison Emily (Rooney Mara) spirals into a deep depression.   Emily agrees to take part in a clinical trial for a new pill Ablixa by her doctor, Jonathan Banks (Jude Law) however once on the medication she starts to suffer side effects which include sleep walking.  In her sleep walking state Emily stabs and kills her husband and is sent to a mental institution.  As Jonathan delves deeper into Emily’s medical history he realises that her reaction to the medication is not at all what it seems.  END PLOT
Side Effects is a very slow paced thriller but if you are prepared to settle in and allow the events to unfold you will be rewarded. The twist is cleverly executed and I will confess that I did not see it coming.
My main complaint in the storytelling was perhaps the lack of ambiguity at the end of the film.  There was nothing left to debate on the journey home as every plot thread had been neatly wrapped up.
Rooney Mara is excellent as the tortured Emily and given the nature of the plot twist it makes her performance at the beginning of the film stronger with hindsight.
Jude Law is the films true lead and although he is very capable Mara steals every scene they are in together.
The most likeable actors in Hollywood Channing Tatum and Catherine Zeta-Jones pop up in strong supporting roles.
The cinematography was gorgeous with the sweeping closing shot being one of the best moments in the film.

This is a ridiculously short review as the more I write the more inclined I am to spoil the film so I think it is best to quit while I am ahead not behind.
I have never been able to call myself a fan of Steven Soderberg but Side Effects proves that it’s time I seek out Soderberg’s back catalogue.  It is typical that the film that makes me sit up and take notice of a director is reportedly his last.  Side Effects deserves a 9/10 and is most definitely worth your time.  


  1. Wow, another very positive review! The trailer looked strange, but the critics all praised it.
    Have no idea when this comes to Austria, but I sure will check it out.

    1. I loved it - although I am really surprised by how much.

      The trailer appealed but I went into the film blind which really helped.

      Rooney Mara is a brilliant actress who should be in more films

      K :-)

    2. I agree with everything you said: this was a really fantastic thriller. I'm not a massive Soderbergh-expert. I usualy avoid his comedies but I love his thrillers, and this is definitely his best thriller since Traffic.

      The cast as outstanding, especially Mara and Law. I was surprised by Zeta Jones who looked hot as fuck! Direction was awesome, I loved the movie's weird but unique style that often felt a bit documentary-like. Camera and music were also stunning, and the twist hit me like a hammer.

      9/10 A proper review coming soon :)

  2. Thanks for not spoiling the movie, I really want to see this and your review just makes me look forward to it more! The Mara sisters area really impressive!

    1. Hope you enjoy it - such a good film.

      There is absolutely no action but it still very tense

      Loved it!

      K :-)