Film, Thrillers
4 out of 5 stars
3 out of 5 stars
(23user reviews)
Jude Law, right, in Contagion
Jude Law, center, in Contagion
You might think twice about holding the rail on the bus – or ordering the pork – after ‘Contagion’. It’s a sober, engrossing thriller about the hysteria surrounding a worldwide epidemic of a disease that makes bird flu look like nappy rash. Moving from country to country with the vigour of the outbreak, Steven Soderbergh (‘Traffic’, ‘Ocean’s Eleven’) extracts a strong ensemble effort from Matt Damon, Kate Winslet, Marion Cotillard, Jude Law, Gwyneth Paltrow and Laurence Fishburne, none of whom outshine the real stars of the story: rabid death and blind panic.

The death of businesswoman Beth (Paltrow) on her return from Hong Kong sets alarm bells ringing – and the mortality rate soaring. Beth’s husband (Damon) is immune but desperate for his daughter to stay well and safe, even as thugs loot shops and break into homes.
As victims sweat, ache, foam at the mouth and expire, World Heath Organisation employee Cotillard heads to Hong Kong but gets into local trouble – one of the film’s weak points. Winslet is an earnest Center for Disease Control and Prevention worker doing her best to help victims, while her boss (Fishburne) fends off cries of conspiracy. Those cries come loudest from a Julian Assange-alike blogger played by Law, with a laughable Aussie accent – presumably to underscore the Assange reference.

Adopting a clean, chronological and punchy approach, Soderbergh holds a steady eye on panic and chaos. It’s a disaster movie with a brain and conscience. The film plays slyly with our suspicions, although there’s a naivety to the epilogue that edges it into wishy-washy anti-globalisation territory and a couple of story-strand resolutions are more sappy than expected. Mostly, though, it’s level-headed, energetic and enjoyable.

By: Dave Calhoun


Release details

Release date:
Friday October 21 2011
106 mins

Cast and crew

Steven Soderbergh
Jude Law
Kate Winslet
Marion Cotillard
Matt Damon
Gwyneth Strong

Average User Rating

2.5 / 5

Rating Breakdown

  • 5 star:4
  • 4 star:2
  • 3 star:4
  • 2 star:5
  • 1 star:8
3 people listening

This wasnt as good as I expected but ok! Was a little drawn out but has a good cast.

Don't know why there are so many bad comments. A good ensemble cast delivered great performances on the whole. I thought the film had a documentary feel as the cinematography and editing had a hyper-real/ ugly look to it. I know some plotlines may not have had a satisfactory conclusion but doesn't this also happen in real life? Do we always have happy, well-rounded endings in the real world? Maybe that was the point. One flaw though was the Jude Law/ Julian Assange character. Did he really need to have an Aussie accent? I think the audience was capable of drawing the comparison without such obvious signposts.

This is the kind of hollywood propaganda that consistently ran out of the nose of tinsletown in the Macarthey era, only in 2011 Americas bogeyman isn't Russia anymore. What it tells you in its cynical B-picture with a budget trappings is Americas next great threat is China, in fact the Chinese aren't even to be trusted on a personal level, also extra marital sex will kill you in three days, even if you're Gwyneth Paltrow, pre marital sex will also kill you and if you're wondering why Jude Law has a laughable Australian accent, its because he's Julian Assange! Who you shouldn't trust kids, he's a bad man and he tells lies on the internet about poor, honest, hard working corporations, financial institutions and governments. Bad, bad man. All lies, kids. Did we mention he's a liar? All this cynical propaganda could almost be forgiven if the film itself was spirited along with the sense of fun of many 1950's red scare b-movies but this has massively inflated ideas about the gravitas its bringing to the well worn end of the world genre and makes for dull, seen it all before viewing that almost collapses under the weight of its too many cameos. You will probably enjoy this if you go to the cinema for the cuisine.

Watched again to see if the first time id nodded off and dreamed it but no! It REALLY is a big nothing of a film...frantically hopping from one story to the next as if we all now have the attention span of a gnat, nothing feels finished and before you know it it's day 13, 26M have died we are told yet it feels like nout's even started. SLIGHTLY better than first view as me and brother were having a bit of a snigger here and there! 5/10

Just dreadful. No tension. No character development. Another laughable performance from Jude Law - how does he keep getting the work ? - which ruins the believability of the whole film. Dull and turgid. Avoid.

What a disappointment. A good germ of an idea not to be sneezed at but unfortunately caught a cold a quarter way through and didn't recover. Stay home with a nice cocoa .and chat to your budgie instead.

too nuch emphasis on the character of Damon and his daughter, I would say. While stronger charachers like those of Winslet and Jude Law could have been ellaborated on. Cottillard heading for Hong Kond and the hi-jacking side of the story didn't add any value to the story.

I think the one and two star reviews are harsh, but this is one of those kinds of movie that will disappoint those who implicitly trust the critics, who sometimes overrate a film when they can't put a finger on anything egregiously wrong with it. It's a decent enough movie that will be forgotten about the day after you've watched it. It has some interesting outdoors photography, some decent acting, some interesting moments: also some boring moments, very little character backstory, and a criminally wasted Gwyneth Paltrow, who hardly appears at all. The disease is completely uninteresting, and there's no human involvement. When a main character dies, you don't care. As apocalypse movies go, it sits quite a few steps below Lars Trier's spllbinding Melancholia, and also has the misfortune to be released so soon after Perfect Sense, which is a superior movie also with actually affecting human interest. Contagion is a quietly enjoyable but soulless film that has not been helped in audience appreciation by being so widely overrated. And its denoument is a copout; what could have been a revelatory moment is a brief aside telling us something we are already told about halfway through the film.

Disaster movie turns slowly into movie disaster after promising start. Several plot threads lead the audience on towards greater things, but few are satisfactorily tied up at the end! In particular, Jude Law's character is never fully resolved, and neither is the film's attitude towards government - conspiracy or benevolence? A shame Soderbergh loses energy and conviction as the movie reaches its 'climax'...

Saw this film the other night not as good as I expected it to be a little O.T.T. a few loose ends. Save yourself some money and wait till it's on D.V.D

The best thing about this film was the soundtrack! I struggled to keep my eyes open! It was unbelievable and boring!

Tiresome bore of a film. Went to see it with a lot of hope but the story just didn't add up and despite some A list actors the script was banal and could've been written by a ten year old. . It just isn't convincing in any way

Justin B. is spot on. Contagion was utter rubbish. How can you give it four stars?

Deadly dull chronicle of a mysterious virus spreading worldwide. Most of the acting is bland beyond belief with the exception of a comically inappropriate Jude Law.

The best film of its kind I've seen.Although it has some cliches, for the most part it relies on the cumulative effect of realistic and scientific presentation of what the origin and course of a pandemic would be like, and it is all teh more scary for that.Its refreshing that it shows teamwork and doesn't rely on a sole hollywood hero who saves the day. The tracking back of how the virus came to be is compelling too. One of the best films of the year.

The best film of its kind I've seen.Although it has some cliches, for the most part it relies on the cumulative effect of realistic and scientific presentation of what the origin and course of a pandemic would be like, and it is all teh more scary for that.Its refreshing that it shows teamwork and doesn't rely on a sole hollywood hero who saves the day. The tracking back of how the virus came to be is compelling too. One of the best films of the year.

I usually don't leave any review, I went to see this film based on what people were posting and rating to be 4-5 stars. I honestly don't know who these people are who think this film was anything close to good. Waist of time, totally pointless specially very very weak act by both Mat, and Kat. don't waist your time to see this, if you don't believe me, go and see it but please come here and leave your feedbacks to help other people understand how poor this film was, may be the worse film I honestly ever seen in my life.

Both the name of the film and trailer give a lot away and, on top of which, last year's H1N1 outbreak was sufficiently in the news to give everyone a pretty good idea of how a ‘flu like virus could become a pandemic. The story’s so-so. With two exceptions, if it wasn’t for a good cast then this movie would flop. Jennifer Ehle leaves the others standing, as the doctor who makes the breakthrough. There are a lot of untidy loose ends in the storyline – maybe there to make you think – maybe they’re there because the story’s not sufficiently well formed to be gripping. Jude Law’s badly cast, as is the girl who plays Matt Damon’s daughter – I heard someone on my row laugh at some of her wooden acting at the beginning. Definitely no Oscar winner, but good enough for a Saturday evening. 5/10, but not 3 stars on TO.

Hollywood's fear of the Internet. Lots of past their best acting names in dull disaster pic.

sent me to sleep , met others who had same experience , a big disappointment

Just saw "Contagion" at the DGA. Terrific thriller, great cast, location work up to "Traffic" standards. Very compelling, propulsive soundtrack