Contagion (2011) 4K Review

By Allison Rose   X Formly Known as Twitter
3 Min Read

With an incredibly talented cast, Burns' words are in capable hands.

What would happen if a sick bat in China ate something that then dropped on the floor of a barn where a pig then started eating it?  Said pig then gets sick, slaughtered, and sold to a restaurant where the head chef prepares the pig bare-handed. Said Chef then meets and shakes hands with the customer who bought the dish and now they are both infected with an unknown virus.  Said customer then flies home to America, stopping on the way to have a tryst with her lover, before returning to her husband and young son. Back in 2011, this scenario would have been considered far-fetched, but after March 2020 and the COVID-19 virus killed millions of people all over the world, the movie Contagion looks more like a documentary than a drama meant to entertain.

Beth Emhoff (Gwenyth Paltrow; The Iron Man series) wasn't feeling very well when she flew home from Hong Kong after winning and dining with clients while on a business trip.  Telling her husband, Mitch (Matt Damon; The Talented Mr. Ripley), that she had jet lag, she went to sleep.  Two days later she had a seizure and died.  Beth's son, age 6, also dies as do several individuals Beth came in contact with, including those in Chicago, Minneapolis, China, and London.  As the virus rapidly spreads, millions begin to die within a three-month time frame, including Dr. Erin Mears (Kate Winslet; Revolutionary Road) an Epidemic Intelligence Service officer working for the CDC.  The world is then told to stay home, quarantine, wash their hands, and use sanitizer while specialists the world over rush to create a vaccine.

Sound familiar? Having watched this movie for the first time a few days ago, two thoughts were running through my head. The first, however, this idea came to writer Scott Z. Burns (The Bourne Ultimatum), someone must have leaked some top government secrets back in 2010. Second, Burns put an idea into someone's head regarding wiping out a large portion of the world using a bioweapon.  Whichever the truth is, COVID-19 has eerie similarities to this crazy, "made-up" story.  It is simply a matter of finding out which came first, the chicken or the egg.

With an incredibly talented cast, Burns' words are in capable hands. From Paltrow to Damon and Winslet to supporting cast such as Jude Law (Sherlock Holmes), Marion Cotillard (La Vie En Rose), and Laurence Fishburne (The Matrix), the ensemble pulls off an amazing feat portraying a scenario that will happen for real nine years later.  Director Steven Soderbergh (Erin Brockovich) has a knack for taking serious, complex, and sometimes morbid subject matter and making it interesting and easy to understand.  He does so here by utilizing his gifted cast and Burns's words.

The Native 4K resolution (2160p) offers the viewer sharp details and clean picture quality which comes in handy in scenes such as when CDC scientists use cellular examples as to how the virus connects to healthy cells in the body and mutates them.  The DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 is perfect for a film like Contagion because it is mostly dialogue-driven without any gunshots, explosions, or special effects. The only noticeable surround sound moments are when there are large groups of people or background noise in the hospital.

While there are legacy extras included with the digital copy (including some poignant and unintentionally funny COVID-19 PSAs with the cast), the 4K disc offers less than 20 minutes of extras including The Reality of Contagion, The Contagion Detectives, and How A Virus Changes The World. 

The shocking reality of knowing you are watching something that happened in real life less than a decade after the film was released in theaters, is mind-blowing.  However, once you get past that fact, Contagion is an interesting story about a pandemic and how those behind the scenes work tirelessly to contain and control a deadly outbreak. 

Well-written, expertly filmed, and incredibly acted out, Contagion is a fascinating movie made only that much more interesting by real-life events.

Grade: B+

Cast:
Directed By:
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Running Time: 105 minutes
Distributed By: Warner Bros.

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For more information about Contagion visit the FlickDirect Movie Database. This release has been provided to FlickDirect for review purposes. For more reviews by Allison Rose please click here.

Contagion images are courtesy of Warner Bros.. All Rights Reserved.


FlickDirect, Allison   Rose

Allison Rose, a Senior Correspondent and Critic at FlickDirect, is a dynamic presence in the entertainment industry with a communications degree from Hofstra University. She brings her film expertise to KRMS News/Talk 97.5 FM and broadcast television, and is recognized as a Tomatometer-Approved Critic. Her role as an adept event moderator in various entertainment industry forums underscores her versatility. Her affiliations with SEFCA, the Florida Film Critics Circle, and the Online Film Critics Society highlight her as an influential figure in film criticism and media.


Read More Contagion Reviews

Physical Media: Blu-ray Review
Contagion, the latest from director Steven Soderbergh, really got under this reviewer's skin, and quite frankly that's what makes it such fun.Contagion is a lithe procedural that follows a deadly virus from patient zero through to epidemic and then containment. The whole chain of germs starts with G...
Full Review | Grade: B
Movie / Film Review
While Contagion is an amazing film, it is certainly not for everyone....the psychological factor of this "near-to-life" film could cause some people to be afraid to walk outside.
Full Review | Grade: A


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