Stephen Soderbergh may be best known for cerebral films like Sex, Lies and Videotape or snarky star vehicles such as the Oceans 11 franchise, but with Contagion he shows he can helm an effective thriller.
An all-star cast led by Matt Damon, Jude Law, Kate Winslet, and Laurence Fishburne turn in believable performances in this story of the global spread of a deadly virus. Soderbergh directs with superb control and restraint, resisting Hollywood affectation and going for more of a documentary-like feel, which perfectly suits the material.
The smart script also does a very good job of showing just how society would react in such a situation (let’s just say it’s not humanity at its finest). The muted tones and subdued colors won’t make the most of Blu-ray played through your HDTV, but this is a spellbinding, stirring experience nonetheless—given more impact by the fact (as pointed out in the well-done bonus features) that this kind of plague could really hit us at any time.