Remember bird flu?
What about swine flu (a.k.a the aporkalypse)?
Or the less catchily-named S. A. R. S.?
Imagine if any of these diseases had lived up to the media hysteria and had gone on to infect millions. Steven Soderbergh’s new movie Contagion does just that, even down to having bird flu as its agent of doom. To be released later this year (just in time for the flu season – thanks, guys), the story focuses on what would happen if a deadly disease became so virulent that just about anyone who touched an infected surface came down with the illness. With a stellar ensemble cast, including Matt Damon, Gwyneth Paltrow, Laurence Fisburne, Kate Winslet, Jude Law and Marion Cotillard, to do the heavy lifting if the story becomes a little strained in places, this sounds like a promising movie to ease us into the colder days and darker nights to come. The extra frisson we’ll get every time someone sneezes next to us could be worth the ticket price alone.
There are obvious similarities with Wolfgang Peterson’s 1995 movie, Outbreak. From the starry cast (the earlier movie had Dustin Hoffman, Rene Russo, Morgan Freeman, Cuba Gooding, Jnr., Donald Sutherland and Kevin Spacey) to the race against time format. But enjoyable as Outbreak was, I think Contagion could allow more audience identification. Whereas the earlier movie puts the story in a military setting with the lead character (Hoffman) being a virologist with the US army, Contagion looks like it tells the story from the civilian point of view of both infected individuals and the medical teams who try to find solutions.
The trailer looks like it will tick every disaster/suspense movie button we’d expect (but be warned – it looks like there could be some spoilers). I think this one could well be worth a watch, if only for the cast alone.