Steven Soderbergh gifts audiences exactly what they paid for: terrific acting, compelling script, enough twists, spins to cement one’s attention; thrilling, solid, earnest entertainment.
“Side Effects” references the healthy/debilitating effects of prescription medication; medication to ward off the black void of depression, derailment of normalcy; viewers, beyond the age of reason, recognize that we inhabit a pill-popping society; stroll the aisles of your local pharmacy, there are over-the-counter drugs for a myriad of ailments: insomnia, irritable bowel syndrome, weight issues, head, back, joint pain; with the swipe of a credit card they can be yours; but a doctor has to prescribe the strong stuff; curing extremes: anxiety, self-destructiveness, catastrophic mood swings; the positive always imbued with the negative, aka “side effects”.
“Side Effects” is riveting in addressing the problematic arenas of prescribed medication. Rooney Mara (American version of “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo”) is positively scintillating as “Emily”, vacillating between a tenuous grasp on reality and the bleak, everlasting comfort of death. She is prescribed antidepressants (Ablixa, fictitious) by her psychiatrist (fascinating, engrossing performance by Jude Law) and the “side effects” of Ablixa inform the narrative of this amazingly prescient film.
Thought provoking questions: can a doctor be held responsible for the actions of his/her patients? Can liquor manufactures be sued if inebriates maim, kill? Tobacco companies accountable for lung cancer? McDonalds penalized because a customer spills scalding coffee on herself? Answers, provide some galvanizing courtroom drama.
Catherine Zeta-Jones and Channing Tatum give provocative, efficacious depictions of Emily’s previous psychiatrist and husband.
Rooney Mara is at the core of this slick, appropriately manipulative, masterful thriller; a movie that’s only side effect, is sublime satisfaction!
THREE & 1/2 STARS!!!