Rated: R sexuality, nudity, violence and language. Reviewed by: Jim Release date: February 8, 2013 Released by: OPEN ROAD
With Side Effects multitasking helmer Steven Soderbergh still has something enticing up his sleeve before he ultimately lets go of his consistent, diverse silver screen acumen.
His latest, starring appealing thespians like Channing Tatum (from the director's successful Magic Mike) and Rooney Mara (The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo 2011), also has him back with scenarist Scott Z. Burns (Contagion and The Informant) to lure in post-adolescent groups.
What may very well take issue with Big Pharma (in a different way than films like The Constant Gardener) works off its eponymous current quality as so many advertisements indicate many potential setbacks over time intended for its patient.
Tatum and Mara as Martin and Emily Taylor are enjoying their success (swank residence, sailboat, etc.) together as a yuppie couple from his Wall Street prowess until insider trading leaves her waiting for him for four years in an upper Manhattan crammed flat. Anxiety reaches an unexpected level for Emily even after his release that has psychiatrist Jonathan Banks, cunningly done by Jude Law (Rise of the Guardians), providing mental health care with medication (without being remanded to a psychiatric facility).
But, there's no anticipated "miracle" on the horizon, and the result of the patient's use of a key drug yields dire returns as evidenced by the rather involving, suspenseful early sections. It's here where the paranoia takes over for at least one character trying to salvage what professionally and personally looks really bleak by searching for the desired closure.
Side Effects sharply maneuvers in ways that may not sit well with perceptive onlookers, but even through arguably perfunctory machinations through death and deepening relational ebbs, the director (who goes again under the nom de plume as lenser Peter Andrews) finds a way to maintain a modish relevant control over the material. It helps the Tatum (also in Soderbergh's less oblique Haywire) and Mara are very compatible even before Martin and Emily are devastated from the treatment of a complex condition. Mara displays some of those edgy layers manifested for David Fincher as computer hacker Lisbeth Salander while Law rises to the occasion (especially in the latter going) driven to take task with such a fateful descent that involves Banks' past, and Catherine Zeta-Jones lends some icy allure as Emily's former therapist.
This all may not be the best prescription for a chillingly, probing drama, but the filmmaking (even with the Thomas Newman electronic score) knows how to psychologically jazz things up from illnesses that continues to crop up in all-too-many depressing headlines