Wednesday, February 13, 2013
After a few years of forgettable performances in undistinguished movies Jude Law started a ‘comeback’ with the Sherlock Holmes movies, stage performances and continues with a stellar performance as a psychiatrist in “Side Effects”. His character makes a complete change from when we first meet him willing to take $50,000 from a pharmaceutical company to test a drug to the aftermath with one of his patients to when he finds himself fighting to get back all he lost.
All of us have heard the dire side effects of drugs either whispered or quickly said during TV commercials or glance at the warnings on the sheet of paper the pharmacist gives us with the bottle of pills. Could one of the side effects of this new medicine cause a patient to kill? If it does who is to blame? The patient? The Doctor?
When we first meet Emily Taylor (Rooney Mara) she is awaiting her husband’s release from jail after his serving time for insider training. A short time after Martin Taylor (Channing Tatum) comes home we see Emily driving her car into a concrete wall and while in the hospital she is tended to by Dr. Jonathan Banks (Jude Law) who subscribes a new trial drug Ablixa.
Along the way we meet Martin’s mother (Ann Dowd), Dr. Victoria Siebert (Catherine Zeta-Jones) who was, at one time, Emily’s doctor and Deirdre Banks (Vinessa Shaw) Dr. Bank’s wife. All performances hold up under scrutiny and after you see the movie that will be an important conversation regarding the movie.
What starts as a psychological movie turns into a mystery thriller with just a few too many twists at the end. The screenplay by Scott Z. Burns is smartly written until the end where even he seems confused about exactly who did what and why. Director Steven Soderbergh, who claims this is his last motion picture, does a good job except for one too many close ups of Rooney Mara using her hair as a frame. The music of Thomas Newman blends in with the movie offering underscoring of important parts.
“Side Effects” lightly touches on doctors selling out to pharmaceutical companies, gets a little deeper into how various pills can affect a person’s being and hits with a couple of twists that you won’t see coming. With all the good to say about the film the final side effects will, maybe, to reread your medicine warnings and throw the pills out and/or asking, “What?” as you walk out of the auditorium.