EVERYTHING ABOUT A MOVIE?
|SIDE EFFECTS (director: Steven Soderbergh; screenwriter: Scott Z. Burns; cinematographer: Steven Soderbergh; editor: Mary Ann Bernard; music: Thomas Newman; cast: Jude Law (Dr. Jonathan Banks), Rooney Mara (Emily Taylor), Catherine Zeta-Jones (Dr. Victoria Siebert), Channing Tatum (Martin Taylor), Vinessa Shaw (Dierdre Banks), Mitchell Mitchell Michaliszyn (Ezra Banks), Michael Nathanson (Assistant District Attorney), Ann Dowd (Martin’s mother), Polly Draper (Emily's ad agency boss), Laila Robins (Banks partner), Peter Friedman (Banks partner), Haraldo Alvarez (Garage Attendant), Victor Cruz (Officer Beahan); Runtime: 106; MPAA Rating: R; producers: Lorenzo di Bonaventura/Gregory Jacob/ Scott Z. Burns; Open Road Films; 2013)|
|"It's a film tailor-made for this
cynical pill popping age."
by Dennis Schwartz
Veteran director Steven
Mike"/"Haywire"/"Kafka") says this psychological thriller will be his
last picture. He re-teams with Contagion and
Informant writer Scott
Z. Burns for this gripping but somber mainstream
pic, which reminds one of a
great Hitchcock thriller. It's
a twisty, enigmatic and well-crafted topical pic,
that intelligently lumps together a murder story, a
study on clinical depression, a look at the dubious
practices of drug companies, psychiatric
malpractice and insider trading fraud. It's a film
tailor-made for this cynical pill popping age, that
clearly shows modern medicine comes with side effects.
a blood-stained Manhattan apartment is shown, a
flashback takes us to three-months earlier. The
thirty-something nice guy Martin Taylor (Channing
Tatum) is released from a four-year prison sentence
for involvement in an insider-trading scheme,
and is welcomed home by his concerned mother (Ann
Dowd) and harried 20ish graphic designer
wife Emily (Rooney Mara). Emily
is distraught by her change of lifestyle, as she's
suffering from severe depression. What bothers Emily
most is relocating from her Greenwich, Connecticut
mansion to her modest Manhattan apartment.
When Emily purposely smashes her car into the wall of
her building's underground garage, she's assigned by
the court to workaholic psychiatrist Dr. Jonathan
Banks (Jude Law). Instead of
following usual protocol and hospitalizing her, Banks
identifies with the fragile woman's vulnerability and
puts her on scheduled office visits and prescribes
antidepressant drugs such as Prozac and
Zoloft. Meanwhile hubby is motivated to make big money
again by using the contacts of a big-time hedge fund
operator who served time with him for income tax
invasion and will shortly partner with him when
released, as Martin has a good deal set-up that
involves them soon moving to Houston.
Banks wants to learn more about his patient, he
contacts her former shrink from Connecticut, Dr.
Victoria Siebert (Catherine Zeta-Jones),
who suggests the use of a new drug on the market
called Ablixa--a company she's associated
with. The Englishman Banks, living a rich lifestyle
with the unemployed businesswoman divorced beauty Dierdre
(Vinessa Shaw) and her elite private
school attending son Ezra (Mitchell Michaliszyn),
needs money and by moonlighting gets a nice salary
from Ablixa to push their product.
Banks' main gig is as a partner in a psychiatric firm
with two others (Laila Robins & Peter
Friedman), who share his need to get rich from
new drug, heavily advertised on TV as a cure-all,
causes Emily suicidal tendencies and later she commits
a heinous act, right out of Psycho, when sleepwalking,
which is another recognized side effect from Ablixa,
and can't remember the bloody incident. Banks' life is
shattered because he ends up blamed for mistreatment,
is fired by Ablixa, dumped by his feckless shrink
partners, Deirdre walks out on him and the assistant
DA (Michael Nathanson)
looks at him with disdain for lack of cooperation.
Perceiving himself as a victim, Banks fights back and
tries to unravel what exactly is going on in the mind
of his not so forthcoming patient and her crafty
It's great on the details of how the path to big money can transpire between Big Pharmaceutical companies and Wall St., leading to greed, perceived as the untreatable mental sickness that can bring down a country. The drug companies buy off the medical people to push their pills and induce patients with free drugs and Wall St. traders encourage investors to wheel and deal in investments that might not be all that legal. Soderbergh leaves no prisoners in this gloomy but perceptive pic about those who talk shop over a fine meal at Le Cirque, who might or might not be mentally sick, and those who are deemed by the courts mentally ill who inhabit the darkly lit world of high-security mental institutions.
REVIEWED ON 2/1/2013 GRADE: B+
Dennis Schwartz: "Ozus' World Movie Reviews"
© ALL RIGHTS RESERVED DENNIS SCHWARTZ