For years, director Steven Soderbergh has said he would retire when he hit 50 years old. Since that was last month, his latest film is also his last to appear on the big screen. From the man who brought the Oceans trilogy and recent hits like “Haywire” and “Magic Mike,” comes a taut thriller set in the world of psychology called “Side Effects.”
Rooney Mara, in her first role since her Oscar nominated turn in “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo,” plays Emily, a graphic designer both anxious and nervous for her husband’s release from prison. To cope with the pain and joy she has trouble separating, she seeks a doctor that will prescribe her something. Emily comes into the care of Dr. Jonathan Banks (Jude Law), a psychiatrist who gives her a new drug to help her. As the side effects become apparent, the consequences turn her life and Dr. Banks’s upside down.
Rather than tarnish the fantastic mystery the trailers have established, I don’t want to go into any more detail. This is the kind of film that is better seen without the entire story laid out in front of you (what film isn’t?). Those who go will no doubt enjoy it. The film is a thriller that builds so methodically and unpredictably that it’s climax seems to suck the viewer further in.
Mara really proves herself in this film. Without an extreme character to disappear into, she shows deep nuance that really makes the film engaging. Law, always watchable, carries the film as we see his life changed by such a simple event. What makes the film really enticing is the rich script that draws characters that can be relatable and disagreeable at the same time.
After seeing this last night, I hope Soderbergh’s retirement doesn’t stick. His recent string of films, including “Haywire,” “Contagion,” and “The Girlfriend Experience” is a voice that more filmmakers should take note from. 3.5 out of 5 stars
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