Have you ever been on a crowded bus and been standing face to face with the only sweaty, sniffley guy on the bus? And you’re standing there saying to yourself “Great, now I’m going to get sick because this prick didn’t have the common decency to call into work.” And then you do get sick and die? But before you die you get home from work and kiss your wife and then she kisses the kids goodnight and they kiss nana and boppy and nana and boppy didn’t have much time left anyway and now it’s been cut even shorter?
This is the idea of CONTAGION. It all starts with one sick guy who doesn’t keep to himself and hole up in his apartment on the futon like any good sick person should. The subsequent pandemic is all this guy’s fault and he doesn’t know it because he’s dead. Although, if he had fallen ill years ago then Gwyneth Paltrow wouldn’t have been able to ruin Coldplay. But I digress…
So Mitch is married to Beth (Matt Damon, Gwyneth Paltrow) and Beth becomes the first real example of how potent whatever this sickness is. Now, as someone who is incredibly hypochondriacal, I have a hard time watching any movie in which one man gets sick and then Jude Law is shouting “A billion dead! That’s where we’re headed!” in his wonderful Jude Law accent. The idea of it – to be frank – scares the shit out of me. When I get a headache I think that I’m probably going to die, so this sort of this is just unacceptable. It is also more frightening because this could actually happen.
All of that being said, I didn’t particularly enjoy the film. Looting and riots over vaccines? Laurence Fishburne and Kate Winslet trying to solve a global crisis together? It makes no sense! Maybe I am being too hard on this movie. Maybe it just wasn’t as good as DRIVE – which I saw right before CONTAGION. Maybe if Ryan Gosling had run into CONTAGION and stomped a guy’s head in I would have been more satisfied. I am cheapening the good name of CONTAGION which stars one of – in my opinion – the most talented actors of our time.
It’s a great idea. Scaring everyone to do anything ever because they might get sick and die. I’m sure that something like this isn’t too far-fetched. It is entirely possibly that someday an illness will wipe our species clean. It is more plausible than, say, cowboys fighting aliens or the rising of the apes. This movie is every bit as worthwhile as those two ‘summer blockbusters’. One can only hope that if any of these things do happen that we will all have our very own Jude Law scampering about, shouting. He is, after all, the man with the plan. And the garbage bag spaceman suit.