Entertainment: +3
Acceptability: -2

Marion Cotillard, Matt Damon, Laurence Fishburne, Jude Law, Gwyneth Paltrow, Kate Winslet. Action/thriller. Written by Scott Burns. Directed by Steven Soderbergh.

FILM SYNOPSIS: Contagion follows the rapid progress of a lethal airborne virus that kills within days. As the fast-moving epidemic grows, the worldwide medical community races to find a cure and control the panic that spreads faster than the virus itself. At the same time, ordinary people struggle to survive in a society coming apart.

PREVIEW REVIEW: It’s a gruesome subject matter, but director Steven Soderbergh handles the story and the production values with a remarkable deftness. Where the makers of Outbreak back in 1995 lost their way, turning an intriguing concept into a typical actioneer with one man at odds with the bad old military, Soderbergh uses three-dimensional characters to relay a parable with metaphoric insights.

Though there are a couple of images that churn the stomach (a man hit by a bus - Hollywood’s CGI departments never tire of that effect, and an autopsy begins with the flap of skin being removed from a dead woman’s head), the content is generally handled discreetly. Soderbergh goes for suspense rather than the gross out. Excellent job from the ensemble cast, especially Matt Damon as a concerned father, and Jennifer Ehle as a researcher.

Preview Reviewer: Phil Boatwright
Distributor: Warner Bros. Pictures

Crude Language: None
Obscene Language: Four or five obscenities, mostly the s-word.
Profanity: I caught one misuse of Christ’s name, spoken by Matt Damon.
Violence: When panic sets in, a crowd pushes and shoves to get medicine and supplies; we see a man, delirious from the sickness, walk in front of a moving bus – splat! Not much blood, but the sick people foam at the mouth just before they die.
Sexual Intercourse: None, though it is implied a couple have an adulterous affair.
Nudity: None
Homosexual Conduct: None
Sexually Suggestive Action/Dialog: None
Drug Abuse: We see shots given for the disease.
Other: None
Running Time: 105 minutes
Intended Audience: Mature viewers.

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