Saturday, February 9, 2013


"Side Effects" has been hyped for quite some time which, in some cases, can be a red flag.  Luckily, this was not the case with this film.  Touted as a Psychological Thriller, it delivered.  As a very topical theme, "Side Effects" put several questions out there for the viewer.  For example, "How powerful are pharmaceutical companies?"  Or "When do the side effects of a medication negatively outweigh the benefits?"  Or how about, "To what degree is a doctor responsible for their patient's reactions?"  These, and many other questions are brought to mind while watching this well-written and deftly directed movie.

Jude Law played a psychiatrist called in to treat Emily (Rooney Mara), a patient who had apparently just attempted to commit suicide by driving directly into a brick wall.  Emily had struggled with depression in the past.  Her husband, Martin (Channing) had just been released from prison for committing insider trading. Emily and Martin were trying to get things back in order.  Unfortunately, her depression got in the way.  As she tried various medications prescribed by Dr. Jonathan Banks (Law), each one had a negative side effect.  That's where the movie really started.  With its slow, but very well-done, beginning, the scene was perfectly set.  The film kept me guessing about each of the characters and their motives.  I was never a step ahead of the film. This made the twists and turns so unexpected and surprising!  No one was who they seemed which made it all the more fun to watch.

Law and Mara were wonderfully cast in their parts.  Catherine Zeta-Jones' character appeared to be a role like she had never played before.  I'll leave it at that.  You'll have to see it to understand.  Although I'm not a huge fan of Channing Tatum, he was fine in his role and really not on the screen too terribly much.  The direction, writing, and timing of this film kept me guessing and glued to the screen.  The end was unexpected and perfect.  Frequently, the ending ruins the movie, but in "Side Effects" it was the perfectly planned powerful punch.

This is a movie that I would recommend paying your hard-earned money to see in the theatre.  We don't often get a smart, creative, and topical film that can capture your undivided attention.


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