“If you ever needed to justify your man flu for a day off work, or ‘women problems’ just isn’t cutting it anymore, maybe you should lend your boss Contagion. Matt Damon, Laurence Fishburne, Kate Winslet and Bryan Cranston are just a few that suffer because Gwyneth Paltrow can’t keep her legs crossed, causing a global virus to strike, something Centers For Disease Control And Prevention struggles to contain in order to make a vaccine. Meanwhile, a blogger and tweeter (Jude Law) claims he knows the cure, but he could just be after a few more followers.
It’s hardly a gripping premise; the ‘what if?’ scenario hindered by a lack of chase and few characters given enough time to justify your empathy. Instead, Steven Soderbergh decides to linger on anything that’s come into contact with our protagonists, whether it’s a door handle or a bowl of nuts. Even then, the pace is too fast for its own good, bombarding us with stats that have no emotional impact.
Although nobody is too famous to survive, by the time we reach the conclusion you’ll hardly be whooping for joy. With little time devoted to characterisation, other than Law as the money-grabbing, fame-seeking villain, there’s no payoff. The cast don’t disappoint but the script certainly does, and although it’s not a bad evening in, you’ll still be wishing Betsy would appear and play in the garden with some of the children.” DW