Side Effects review by Alyse Garner - Cinema Paradiso
Steven Soderbergh’s complex thriller Side Effects is a captivating and intriguing one; thanks largely to the performances by Rooney Mara (most known for her role as Lisbeth in the English language version of the Girl with the Dragon Tattoo), Jude Law and Catherine Zeta-Jones as the patient, doctor and ex-psychiatrist whose involvement with a newly trialled drug has deadly consequences.
Struggling with depression, self harm and suicidal tendencies Emily (Mara) is attempting to welcome her husband Martin (played effectively by Channing Tatum) back into her life following his release from prison. When a new drug is recommended to Emily’s new doctor, Jonathan Banks (Jude Law) by her previous psychiatrist Dr. Victoria Siebert (Jones) it promises to solve all of Emily’s problems. Unexpected side effects, including mood swings and sleep walking, quickly begin to plague Emily however and things soon reach a head when, during sleep walking episode, she murders her husband Martin.
The court proceedings are swift and brutal, Dr. Banks’ reputation is in ruins and Emily has been confined to an institution. Things are not as straight forward as they seem however and Banks takes it upon himself to do some digging and discover the truth about Emily and the now infamous drug Ablixa.
Without giving any more away I will say that Side Effects is a dark and interesting story that comments on medical ethics, the social understanding of mental health and the current cultural reliance on drugs and pills. Though the story is complex and often twists into unexpected directions the script and screenplay are sure footed and steady enough to ensure the viewer is kept up to speed; save the somewhat unclear middle Side Effects is an excellent and impressive thriller.