Virus drama fails to catch fire

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 11 September, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 11 September, 2011, 12:00am


The A-lister-packed Contagion tells the story of a deadly virus that spreads quickly throughout the world through casual daily contact among people of all walks of life.

The movie opens on the second day of the outbreak, after American Beth Emhoff (Gwyneth Paltrow) contracts the virus while on a business trip in Hong Kong and brings it home to the US.

Soon, the virus spreads to London, Tokyo and Guangdong province while scientists at the Centres for Disease Control in the southern US try desperately to find a way to contain the outbreak and come up with a vaccine.

The movie is directed by Steven Soderbergh, whose film Traffic won him four Oscars, including Best Director. But Contagion hardly compares to his previous film.

Like Traffic, there are multiple subplots. But in this case, many of the subplots are not well developed, leaving behind some unfinished stories. It lacks a climax and the momentum a truly good movie requires.

As well as Paltrow, the impressive cast includes Matt Damon, Kate Winslet, Jude Law (above), Laurence Fishburne, Marion Cotillard and Hong Kong's own Josie Ho. But the only character who manages to create a personal, emotional impact is Dr Erin Mears, an epidemic intelligence officer played by Winslet. We expected more from this director and his team of top stars.