‘Contagion’: Defying Hollywood tradition of ‘spectacle’
Any creature—small or big, visible or invisible—that threatens human life (read, the ‘First World’ humans) has to die a spectacular death in full public view. Anything else is insulting to the mighty weapons the ‘First World’ possesses.
‘Contagion’ becomes irresistible for repeated viewing precisely because of this reason. It’s a movie plot that tries to stitch together various lives through a flawless hyperlink narrative and see where the virus-driven pandemic that eventually claims 26 million lives all over the world originates from.
Moreover, ‘Contagion’ narrates how an invisible virus can flick away that veneer of social order that the ‘First World’ gloats over and usher in mass hysteria and chaos through looting, rioting, fear psychosis and what not.
Directed by Steven Soderbergh, the movie is star-studded; yet, down to earth. It keeps the tension high with a tightly woven plot, but does not swerve off course when it comes to scientific accuracy. There are no helicopters swooping down on the earth to pick out patients to quarantine. There are no heroes or villains. There is no spectacle. There is only depth and heights.
Matt Damon, Kate Winslet, Gwyneth Paltrow, Jude Law, Marion Cotillard, Laurence Fishburne play out their acts without drama. Kate the actress, whose self-dignity defies and pooh-poohs Hollywood’s obsession with manufactured match-stick figures, stands out in particular as Epidemic Intelligence Officer.
Watch this movie for the accurate depiction of a medical horror, about public health and how the world around us is bound to react to a pandemic of far-reaching social consequences.