It was probably not a good idea to see 'Contagion' the day that a dozen people called out of my workplace from having a "cold"....I am now convinced that I feel achy. The film was pretty disappointing - I think I expected more from such a fantastic group of people. I think it was trying too hard to teach us lessons about humanity, but I am not so sure these are the "right" lessons to teach. Here is what I learned: ***slightly spoilery***
1. When you cheat on your husband, bad things will happen - So Gwyneth Paltrow is our "patient zero" (which in theory makes no sense because she got it from shaking the hands of chef who was touching a diseased pig - did he not touch anyone else? Wouldn't people that ended up eating the pig get sick as well? Anyway...moving on...). The film sets up a very negative view of her by basically making her out to be a cheating whore. After contracting the virus in Hong Kong, she travels back to the states to her family (who I think live in San Fran...right?) - but makes a pit-stop in Chicago to sleep with an ex. There is not one single part of the film that makes you sympathize with her character and that is the films biggest mistake.
2. Bloggers are evil - "blogging is not writing. It's just graffiti with punctuation." Seriously, that is an actual line from the film when we first meet the ultimate evil "blogger" played by Jude Law. Not only does he represent the worst characteristics of the human race (greedy, manipulative, selfish etc) he is also representing the new "media" of today. A group of people who keep the truths hidden for their own personal or political gain - don't trust them! And was it really necessary to have him wear a prosthetic snaggle-tooth? A British guy with bad teeth? Not distracting at all...
3. Only a handful of people in the world are "good" - I think in situations like this, most people will inherently show both the best and worst of themselves. But I think that is too hard for some writers to portray - so instead they make characters "good" and some "bad". In this film, most of our main characters are "good" but the masses of people are "bad" (they riot in the streets, steal from banks and stores and cause stampedes instead of waiting on lines). I for one refused to believe that this is true of human nature. The film was released on the weekend of the 10th anniversary of a catastrophic event that proved that people come together and help each other after tragedy. That acknowledgement was severely lacking in the film (as was the acknowledgement that NYC even existed - every major city was listed as being infected except NYC....isn't that weird? Am I the only one who noticed this?).
4. Deadly outbreaks are far more entertaining when zombies are involved - The best way to describe the film is as a zombie film with no zombies (translation: Boring!). Yes, it had a fantastic cast of Oscar winning and nominated proportions, but it just had no depth at all. It went in a very straight line from A to B and never really crossed the line into interesting territory. I wouldn't say it is bad, I would say it is blah.