Contributed By Ng Jia Qi
Bateriophobics and mysophobics should stay away from this movie about an epidemic caused by an unknown virus which shrinks the global population within weeks. Rather than employ shock tactics such as mutated corpses, musical scores and dramatic twists, the crux of the narrative focuses on how the disease spreads, the evolution of fear among the population and the false calmness the bureaucracy tries to present to the public as scientists scramble to find a cure.
Evocative of the panic felt during the 2003 SARS outbreak, it is the fruit of two and a half years of research by director Steven Soderberg, who weaves a realistic and grounded tale—at best.
However, the fear and tension in the movie lasted all of the five or so minutes of screen time Gwyneth Paltrow gets, as one of the infected people. The rest of the movie captures a star-powered cast including Matt Damon, Kate Winslet and Jude Law in a multiple strand storyline that adds nothing to the dramatic tension or suspense.
Characters are loosely linked and the subplots borderline interesting, just enough to keep one from falling asleep. The conclusion to the miracle cure seemed rushed. Contagion shows how small and interconnected our world is and that a bomb is not the only weapon that is capable of causing mass destruction. As the tagline goes, one touch is all it takes. It also makes you think twice about eating after touching surfaces, but that’s about all, really.