It has taken me a few days to get started on the review for Side Effects because I am desperate not to spoil it for any one who may not have seen it yet. I sometimes read a review before watching the movie and I am then constantly looking out for things mentioned in said review, such as unexpected twists and turns – well they aren’t unexpected anymore if you know one is coming. I will warn you when the spoilers are coming, but as a fellow cinema goer I would suggest keeping a clear mind before seeing Side Effects. If you have seen the film or don’t mind about perhaps spoiling your first impressions of the film, then please read on 🙂
IMDB’s synopsis of Side Effects reads; A young woman’s world unravels when a drug prescribed by her psychiatrist has unexpected side effects. This gives nothing away and neither does the trailer which is an immediate bonus for me. Films such as Looper where the film actually has a lot more plot than the trailer suggest make me a very happy audience member, on the flip side I have no desire to see Trance because the twist is discovered in the trailer!! I digress…
Emily Taylor, played by Rooney Mara, suffers from depression when her husband (Channing Tatum) is released from jail after a 4 year stint for ‘insider trading’ (at this point I was thinking, should I know what ‘insider trading’ means?!). She meets Dr. Banks aka Jude Law who prescribes her a trial drug called Ablixa after no other medication seems to work. The drug though has devastating side effects for Emily, and Dr. Banks due to his responsibility of care for his patient.
The interesting part of the story begins after the side effects of the Ablixa kick in and Emily commits murder (that much is clear from the trailer). Dr. Banks is then faced with an incredibly hard moral dilemma. If Emily is a victim of circumstance and found not guilty due to her actions being manipulated by the Ablixa then Dr. Banks will be to blame for prescribing the drug. But can he see a seemingly innocent woman convicted to save his own skin? When Emily is committed to a psychiatric ward the film shifts it’s focus onto Dr. Banks, the implications that this situation has brought him in his life and his search for the truth.
Rooney Mara is captivating as Emily, she controls the room despite showing obvious signs of mental distress. She conveys manic episodes and surreal calm in the blink of an eye, and not to mention she is naturally very beautiful. I had not seen her in anything before so a new comer to me and I was very impressed with her performance. Her pairing with Channing Tatum made a very good looking couple! Although Tatum’s role is somewhat distant, his presence is felt throughout the film. He is growing on me and I hope he gets more serious roles like this.
Catherine Zeta Jones plays a key role in Side Effects as Emily’s previous psychiatrist. I have read reviews that suggest she didn’t perform very well but I liked her in this role. Her character is believable and plays a huge part in the plot. I liked her sarcy exchanges with Jude Law and she looked pretty darn good in those specs!
As the focus shifts from Emily to Dr. Banks, Jude Law puts in a brilliant performance. His life is falling apart around him due to the events surrounding Emily’s trial, but he pulls himself together to seek out the truth of the so called side effects. It was very exciting to watch as Dr. Banks pieces all the information together in order to clear his name, cleverly the plot starts to become clear and I found myself going ‘ooooh’ and ‘aaaah’. That is up until the big reveal, which for me let the film down severely. Side Effects cleverly tip-toes around the facts to build up an elaborate picture and then suddenly lays it bare as if the audience didn’t understand what was going on so had to spell it out for us.
I suppose that is a little niggle but it did make the end of the film feel quite abrupt. I left the cinema though having had a very enjoyable experience watching Side Effects, it is clever and attention grabbing with some fantastic performances. A brilliant film from Mr. Soderbergh and I hope this isn’t really his last film, he will just take a really long holiday 🙂 A must watch!!
I haven’t quite finished… But SPOILER ALERT PEOPLE! Please stop reading if you have not seen the film 🙂
My friend and I left the cinema feeling pretty good about what we had seen, in fact my chum exclaimed it was the best film she had seen so far this year! But we couldn’t quite get our heads around what happened in the end. When Emily goes to see Catherine Zeta Jone’s character whilst wearing a wire the Police must know that she intentionally killed her husband and therefore is a murderer – this is confirmed when she goes to see Dr. Banks and says “I’m a co-operating witness”.
However the confusion lies when she said “I have done what you said” implying that this was just an agreement between herself and Dr. Banks. If that’s the case how did the Police know to be out side Jone’s practice? If Emily was a co-operating witness though there is no way she would be aloud to walk free and have the only punishment be seeing Dr. Banks on a regular basis. She still murdered in cold blood at the end of the day… If anyone can explain this to me I would be grateful, and then I can put my chums mind at ease also! (She is a fretter!)
I was very satisfied with the ending and felt Bank’s actions were just, because even though she protested to having been pretending to be depressed and therefore does not need psychiatric attention – no body with mental stability and a moral compass could do what she did. Boom!