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Movie Review

Side Effects

Reviewer Rating
User Rating

Director: Steven Soderbergh

Starring: Jude Law, Rooney Mara, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Channing Tatum, Vinessa Shaw

Duration: 106 minutes

Certificate 15A

1 of 5 Part Hitchcock and part Seventies conspiracy thriller, Side Effects is also a study of depression
Part Hitchcock and part Seventies conspiracy thriller, Side Effects is also a study of depression
2 of 5 The drugs might work...
The drugs might work...
3 of 5 Two actors at the top of their game
Two actors at the top of their game
4 of 5 Don't spoil the surprises
Don't spoil the surprises
5 of 5 Plenty of rug pulling
Plenty of rug pulling

Ah, the good old days. Back in the Eighties, the newspaper listings for Dublin cinemas would ask patrons not to reveal the twists and endings of such thrillers as Jagged Edge and Fatal Attraction. By and large this worked; films ran and ran and somehow humanity survived without recourse to Twitter. Had Side Effects been released 25 years ago it too would have needed that keep-your-mouth-shut caveat.

Jude Law plays psychiatrist Dr Jonathan Banks. While Banks is a genuinely caring sort, he's a bit too pleased with himself and may have a saviour complex. Enter Rooney Mara as Emily, a depressed young woman who becomes Banks' patient after a couple of years of relentless stress and upheaval. The two start talking and out comes the third party in the relationship: the prescription pad.

You can watch our interview with Jude Law by clicking the link on your left.

That's about as much as you need to know about what is reportedly director Steven Soderbergh's last film (he's had enough of the system). Part Hitchcock and part Seventies conspiracy thriller, Side Effects is also a study of depression and the role of the pharmaceutical industry in treating the illness. It was written by Scott Z Burns, who worked with Soderbergh and Law on pandemic potboiler Contagion, and similar shivers and rug pulling ensue here. One minute it's all evil orange vials and the drug-induced feeling of living in cotton wool, the next the popcorn is airborne.

This is also an opportunity to see two actors at the top of their game. As Banks, Law is as conflicted as the audience and makes the role far more effective by being understated. As Emily, Mara has you wondering just how much movie greatness may await her. It would be a real pity if the two of them and Soderbergh didn't work together again; the years will be kind to what they've achieved here.

As the three-star rating suggests, there are some gripes, but by getting them off your chest you may ruin a good night for someone else.

So, thank you for not sharing.

Harry Guerin

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