Side Effects (2013)

September 4, 2016

I had never heard of Steven Soderbergh's Side Effects before I saw it on the shelf at the local library. I am glad that I picked it up to try out, this film is diabolically entertaining.

Side Effects is about a woman, Emily Taylor (Rooney Mara) who suffers from depression and her depression gets worse as her husband (Channing Tatum) is released from prison. After she attempts suicide, she is seen by a psychologist, Dr. Jonathan Banks (Jude Law). Things go severely downhill after she is prescribed drugs by Banks.

The film has multiple twists and they are written so well that while I had an inkling that something would be coming, I could not figure out just what it was. The way that the film ends is somewhat messy and required a little more suspension of disbelief to buy into. But, the ending is very satisfying, I could not figure out how the characters were going to wrap things up, but the way that it was done was good.

Mara and Law turn in excellent performances in the film. Mara in particular is convincing as the film twists and turns through its script. Tatum continues to show that he is a very versatile actor. It was nice to see Catherine Zeta-Jones onscreen again.

All in all, I really enjoyed Side Effects and would recommend it.

Spoilers

The film is split into two parts. The first part is focused on prescription drugs, but that is a McGuffin as the second part of the film creatively twists into a murder mystery. It took a few minutes for me to readjust to the change in the plotting of the film. Once I was into the new thriller/murder mystery portion of the film, it was quite a ride.

I found the ending a little convenient and that's why I mentioned that it took a little more suspension of disbelief. The exposition by Mara's character about her motive and how things unfolded took some ten minutes of talking and that was a strange way of getting the inforation out the audience -- It felt a lot like how hour-long murder procedurals on TV finish up episodes.


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