I’m not a germaphobe. I don’t feel the need to use Purell after every bit of human contact I have. When the swine flu, bird flu or any flu for that matter is announced, I don’t run out and grab face masks or get the super vaccine. Now that I’ve seen “Contagion,” though, I might actually think about it.
“Contagion” is definitely what I would call a slow burn. It takes its story telling cues from the likes of “Traffic,” “Crash” and any other movie that follows the lives of multiple, seemingly unrelated people. This time, viewers watch as the characters deal with an unstoppable virus that decimates the world’s population.
If you’ve seen “Outbreak,” you may think that you’re going to be in for a similar ride, but you’re not. Where “Outbreak” delivered a tightly wound action thriller in which a few people try to stop a virus while simultaneously debating the extremes to which humans should morally go in order to prevent a disaster, “Contagion” is a bleak story simply about surviving.
Don’t get me wrong: I definitely think the film succeeded. The entire time I was watching, I couldn’t help but think about bathing in that Purell I normally scoff at. Still, there was ajust something about the film that left me wanting more.
Perhaps my problem with “Contagion” though is also what some would consider its biggest strength: the extreme realism. It would be easy for some hyper-strain of a virus to annihilate us all. It’s just too bad I already knew that and didn’t need Jude Law and Marion Cotillard to tell me.
The story is terrifying, just not particularly exciting. I’ll probably never watch it again, but it definitely warrants at least one viewing. I’d say wait for its home release, though. A star-studded cast doesn’t necessarily mean it’s worth spending 10-plus dollars to see it in theaters — especially considering that you’ll just end up thinking about all the pathogens living on the same floor that your shoes are sticking to.