Soon after her return from a business trip to Hong Kong, Beth Emhoff dies from what is a flu or some other type of infection. Her young son dies later the same day. Her husband Mitch however seems immune. Thus begins the spread of a deadly infection. For doctors and administrators at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, several days pass before anyone realizes the extent or gravity of this new infection. They must first identify the type of virus in question and then find a means of combating it, a process that will likely take several months. As the contagion spreads to millions of people worldwide, societal order begins to break down as people panic.Written by
A number of the actors in this film have also appeared in superhero films: Gwyneth Paltrow (Iron Man series, Avengers series), Laurence Fishburn (Superman series), and Monique Gabriela Curnen and Chin Han (Batman Series). Jennifer Ehle also has a superhero connection in that her mother, Rosemary Harris, was in the Spiderman film series. See more »
When Alan Krumwiede is explaining what an R0 of 2 means on television, he claims that the number of cases daily will progress 2, 4, 16, 256, 65536 and so on. This is incorrect - this is the quadratic series, and would mean that by the fourth day each person is infecting 256 others, and by the sixth day 4,294,967,296 would have fallen ill. The correct progression would be the geometric; i.e. 2, 4, 8, 16, 32... He later claims that it would take a month for a billion people to fall ill - this number is clearly based on the geometric number series, not the quadratic. See more »
Fictional viral outbreak plausibly dramatized in docu-like fashion
Stephen Soderbergh's latest direction, "Contagion" (2011), even though bringing less than expected excitement, is an absorbing movie to watch, efficient as a social and behavioural study, but no less as an accomplished collection of individual case studies, offering sufficiently thought-provoking arguments, such as the fact that--despite all the scientific advances and exhaustive efforts of the thousands of specialists--humankind still stands pretty helpless in the prevention of new viral outbreaks and their many strains occurring globally, when even seemingly well organised societies easily slip into chaos, leaving all individuals to fend for themselves in the ultimate fight for survival, all further fuelled by unstoppable leaks (however, lucrative sensationalism, as well) on an almost inevitable, mutually supportive (money and power shouldn't mix, but mostly they do) corporal and governmental cover-ups. Surely it is a disturbing reminder that even at the most difficult of times, humanity's good traits still get so easily overpowered by the seed of all evil--selfishness and greed.
Many good actors partake in the movie: Kate Winslet, Matt Damon, Jude Law, Jennifer Ehle, Marion Cotillard, Laurence Fishburne, Elliott Gould, to name a few, though one cannot expect remarkable character development when action is dispersed and story spread on so many leads. Nevertheless, Soderbergh knows how to make people count and, albeit somewhat shy about it, he's sufficiently confident in decisive difference their increasingly frequent, self-sacrificing actions could make, having faith in ultimately predominant selflessness and benevolence, kindness and compassion, whether among pre-organised, or ad hoc gathered communities, down to the last individual, rediscovering--now under extreme conditions--their altruism and, as implied in a reserved hope raised towards the end, having--this way or another--humanism in humankind still prevail.
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