Certificate 15, 106 minutes, ★★★★★★★★☆☆
Jude Law (The Talented Mr Ripley) plays Dr Jonathan Banks, an overworked New York psychiatrist in Steven Soderberg’s (allegedly) final movie, Side Effects. One day he treats Emily (Rooney Mara – The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo [US remake]), admitted to hospital after driving head first into a parking garage wall. After consulting with her previous doctor (Catherine Zeta-Jones), Banks puts her on an experimental new drug called Ablixa. Things go well until the side effects start manifesting…
Side Effects is an excellent psychological thriller in the Hitchcockian tradition. Compelling, disturbing, sinister, and gripping in equal measure (Oxford Comma there, guys ;)) but also visually sumptuous, with just a hint of nightmare about it.
To tell you anything more about the plot would be a spoiler, and it really is worth watching this film unspoiled. It has an original screenplay by Scott Z. Burns, inspired cinematography by “Peter Andrews” (Soderbergh himself, under a pseudonym), and expertly edited by “Mary Ann Bernard” (Soderbergh again. Hmm, is there a trend… ;))
The casting couldn’t be better. Law and Mara give arguably their best ever performances. Law as the bland psychiatrist who is at the same time greedy and vain; Mara as the troubled young victim, both scared and scary. If this really is Indie director Soderbergh’s final opus (please say it isn’t so!) he’s going out with a bang.
One pill, TDS. 8/10