Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Movies: Contagion

Some movies arrive with a big hype. One of them is "Contagion". It got a lot of good reviews, has an ambitious director (Steven Soderbergh), an impressive cast (Marion Cotillard, Kate Winslet, Gwyneth Paltrow, Matt Damon, Jude Law & Laurence Fishburne), a long list a fashionable locations and a scary topic: A global virus epidemic.

Therefore I watched the film with high anticipation, but as the end titles started running over the big screen, I thought: So what? Ok, the flick was entertaining, at least a bit. But it had  nothing spectacular. "Contagion" doesn`t play in the league of "Social Network" or "Inception".

The plot isn´t surprising at all. Soderbergh narrates how a very aggressive virus spreads explosively all around the globe and kills the infected in days. But we know this story already from the news about recent global pandemics like the influenza H1N1, called swine flu, SARS and the bird flu.

Almost every year the media reports shocking news about a coming pandemic, which could endanger the whole world, but then the news disappear quietly. The disaster, predicted by many experts, never occurred. But the business of scaring people is good for the media, because they attract a lot of readers.

It seems to me that Hollywood just tried to surf on the pessimistic "Zeitgeist" and sells us an alarmist view of the world. Being an economist I can understand that, but films like "28 days later" which also focused on the contagion of an aggressive virus did that in a much more entertaining way. In my eyes Soderbergh is just an overrated boring director who tries to pep up his reputation with a disaster story.

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