Monday, March 04, 2013

Review - Side Effects (2013)

Starring Rooney Mara, Jude Law and Catherine Zeta-Jones.
Directed by Steven Soderbergh.

I heard that this is probably Steven Soderbergh's last movie. I'm deeply saddened by this news as he proves himself time and time again to be a versatile director capable of producing enjoyable films. Side Effects features big names in hollywood and if this is indeed his last film, did he leave with a bang? Well..... watch the film :)

Emily Taylor (Rooney Mara) is a woman seemingly troubled after her husband Martin (Channing Tatum) is incarcerated. After spending four years in prison, he is finally freed and we see the couple go about trying to rebuild their lives. Everything seems fine at first but then we witness Emily plunge deeply into depression, even to the point of suicide attempts. She is given various anti-depressants, one in particular is the drug Ablixa, prescribed by her new psychiatrist Dr. Jonathan Banks (Jude Law). The medication seems to work for Emily but with just one side effect of sleepwalking. However this same side effect results in the death of her husband -- to which an interesting, and for most parts, thought provoking story unfolds for the rest of the film.

The movie starts out kinda slow but nonetheless we get drawn into Emily Taylor's depression. Rooney Mara was impressively convincing and after the death of her husband, the story became rather interesting and picked up steam. If there's one thing I cannot deny about Side Effects, is that it really had me guessing. It really did. I'm just there asking myself, "Is this movie drawing us into the world of prescription drugs and pharmaceuticals? Is this movie about medical malpractice? Is this movie about the studies of the human psyche? Is this some sort of conspiracy? How is Jude Law going to get himself out of this one?" In truth, this film is pretty much all of these questions put together under a theme of deception. When you think you've figured it out, it draws you down another path revealing unexpected twists along the way.

As much as Side Effects had me excited and thrilled at its developing plot and run arounds, it wasn't long before it ran out of steam - much to my dismay. The second half of the film felt disjointed and the dialogue flat at times. Jude Law's character was interesting at first but I do believe he collapsed under the weight of the film's growing plot and twists. Catherine-Zeta Jones's sexy and intriguing character slowly became the film's antagonist but she too I felt collapsed under the weight. I found Rooney Mara's character to be most consistent in this movie and I was so glad that Channing Tatum's character died - his cold acting wasn't needed. I was really hoping that Jude Law would have been more emotionally appealing as the pressure mounted and take this movie to greater heights. Unfortunately he didn't and I was stuck watching him, Rooney and Catherine Zeta-Jones converging and squabbling for the rest of the film.

I'd say Side Effects is a decent watch and a decent addition to Steven Soderbergh's resume. Even though it lost steam towards the end, the story was unpredictable and interesting. I adore Rooney Mara.

Rating: 7.5/10

Movie Also Watched: 

Identity Thief (2013)
Who told Melissa McCarthy she was funny? This movie was not funny. - 3/10

Smashed (2012)
Probably due to the film's short run time but I found this story thin, predictable and lacked that emotion. The performances made it an okay watch. - 6.5/10

The Crying Game (1992)
A movie filled with memorable performances coupled with an intriguing story and twist. - 10/10

School Ties (1992)
A decent coming-of-age film highlighting prejudice and perhaps Brendan Fraser's best performance. - 7.5/10

Dark City (1998)
Some scenes looked cheap but I enjoyed watching this dark, twisty sci-fi thriller. - 8.5/10

Lost Highway (1997)
David Lynch doing what he does best - confuse you for two hours and then leave you satisfied at the end. - 8/10

The French Connection (1971)
Drugs, guns and lots of thrills. I loved the ending of this movie. - 10/10

Days of Wine and Roses (1962)
A film highlighting alcoholism and its effect on relationships. Jack Lemmon and the cast was superb. I felt drunk while watching - 8.5/10


  1. Good review Shawna. It's a crazy movie, but that's all of the fun in it.

  2. Your final paragraph summed it up perfectly. It was unpredictable and while the ending was not perfect, I really enjoyed it as a whole.

    Also, Rooney Mara was incredible indeed and I can't wait for her future films!