‘Side Effects’ the right dose of thriller
Published: Thursday, February 14, 2013
Updated: Thursday, February 14, 2013 21:02
“Side Effects” builds a story that exposes all sides of mental health that is as intricate as it intriguing.
“Side Effects” is a new take on thriller genres that follows Emily (Rooney Mara) after she is prescribed a new medication by her psychiatrist (Jude Law) to treat anxiety when her husband (Channing Tatum) is released from prison. The drug seems to be working at first, but Emily’s entire life begins to fall apart when the drug has unexpected and dangerous side effects.
Directed by Steven Soderbergh, the film successfully morphs itself and changes direction just when it seems as if it can be figured out. While this is often difficult to pull off, “Side Effects” is structured in a way that the film can be filled with twists and turns without getting too confusing or ridiculous.
The entire film has been carefully thought out and woven together so that it can flow without skipping a beat when it takes off in a new direction.
It is often hard to point out who the bad guy is, who’s the victim and who’s the crazy one. This rapid pace and constantly changing story does not make the plot sloppy or hard to follow.
Cinematography has special attention paid to it throughout and complements the entire film. Creative angles, colors and a crisp starkness all contribute to the overall atmosphere and helps draw attention to important aspects of scenes. The cinematography itself makes the film worth seeing.
Tatum, although not in the film for long, is performing a bit out of his comfort zone, and it is obvious at times. The relationship between Tatum and Mara comes across as forced and awkward during certain scenes, and Mara often steals the scene.
Mara portrays the array of emotions that her character is experiencing with an amazing amount of confidence and conviction. She perfects her role down to her facial expressions and tone. Law and Mara have a chemistry that is apparent on screen, and Law’s performance is up to par with Mara’s exceptional acting. Catherine Zeta-Jones plays Emily’s former psychiatrist and performs solidly as well.
The film’s only downfall is if it is looked at from a more analytical standpoint. Some of the scenes are far-fetched, and the film’s entire premise seems highly unlikely if it is applied to the real world. On the other hand, is that not the point of watching a movie?
“Side Effects” is as provocative as it is thrilling with beautiful, creative cinematography and a talented cast to complement the film’s constantly twisting plot.
“Side Effects” is rated R for sexuality, nudity, violence and language.