'Contagion' Hits Theaters & Hollywoodlife's Bonnie Fuller Says It's 'Gripping' But Warns: Get Your Hand Sanitizer Ready!

Fri, September 9, 2011 12:50pm EDT by Add first Comment

Director Steven Soderbergh’s film about a deadly virus which kills millions of people all over the world may get you rushing to the movie theater but afterwards you may not want to come out of  your house for the rest of the weekend… or month!

If you thought hurricanes, earthquakes and terrorist attacks were all you needed to worry about — think again! HollywoodLife.com attended the NYC premiere of Contagion and not only did we find it riveting our Editor-in-Chief Bonnie Fuller calls it “incredibly gripping!” The film is about a deadly unknown pandemic that starts in Hong Kong and spreads all across the globe killing a hundreds of millions of people. It turns out it was transferred from bats to pigs to people. Scared yet?

The best thing about it was it’s plausibility – yes, a deadly pandemic like this could happen –  and that you get to see usually gorgeous-to-perfection actresses Gwyneth Paltrow and Kate Winslett looking truly god awful. Of course, it makes you realize  a deadly , fast-moving contagious disease could totally disrupt our  fairly smoothly working world. Now, read the reviews and check out the film!

Jason Solomons for the Guardian: “I was shuffling nervously in my seat, edging away from the sniffling man next to me. Nobody shook hands or embraced after this screening… This is a straight-up movie, serious but, crucially, also slightly silly in the knowing Soderbergh style, always aware that it’s a disaster movie, not a documentary.” Grade: 3 out of 5 stars

Oliver Lyttelton at indieWIRE: “Soderbergh creates a kind of tapestry of illness and panic, and the structure works like a charm, the film moving like a train, crossing continents and characters in a cut… the film is the kind of smart, grown-up entertainment that mostly doesn’t get made anymore, a firmly entertaining, commercial project made with impeccable craft… it’s also got a good deal of substance going for it, and it lingers on the mind, and on the skin, for some time afterwards.” Grade: A-

Alison Wilmore at MovieLine: “Contagion marks time in numbers, tracking how long it’s been since the virus first appeared — Day 2, Day 26, Day 141 — but tracking people in numbers too, noting the populations of each new city at which it and the illness arrives. Hong Kong, London, Chicago, Tokyo — the ease and speed with which MEV-1 spreads is a reminder that we’re living in a global society, one through which information can pass as quickly as infection. And given the teeming, impersonal masses through which the first sick characters stumble, the film’s affirmation of the connection humanity provides us is unexpectedly uplifting, the elements we have in common holding up against the animal chaos of a blind drive for survival.”

Todd McCarthy at The Hollywood Reporter: A shrewd, unsensationalistic, non-visual effects-dependent global disaster melodrama, Contagion creates a credible picture of how the world might react (and, up to a point, has reacted) in the face of a rapidily [sic] spreading mystery disease for which no cure exists.. the fine cast, likely solid critical reaction and undeniable topicality position this as a robust B.O. performer for the early fall season.”

David Gritten for Thompson on Hollywood: “It was well received, but… Contagion felt more like a superior studio thriller than a festival awards contender. On its own terms, it’s satisfying… its story is alarmingly believable and it dwells on the science involved in combating such a virus… anyone remotely concerned about the risk of infection in crowded public places may regard Contagion as a thoroughly believable horror movie.”

Manohla Dargis for The New York Times: The virus seriously rattles your nerves, and you may want to start stockpiling antibacterial soap now. Yet what’s really scary in “Contagion” is how fast once-humming airports and offices, homes and cities empty out when push comes to shove comes to panic in the streets.

The film hits theaters Sept. 9!

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— Chloe Melas

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