Side Effects

Side Effects explores the themes of lies, betrayal, and pharmaceutical drugs. In this intriguing thriller, Emily Taylor (played by the excellent Rooney Mara) is prescribed anti-depressents to deal with her severe depression and possible suicide attempts. During her course of treatment, a tragic event happens that both she and her doctor have to own up to since they’re both on the other end of the metaphorical smoking gun.

I don’t want to reveal any more detail as this film does some pretty interesting twists and turns that I’d prefer not to spoil. Suffice it to say that you need to pay close attention to the film but don’t worry, the pay off at the end makes it worth the investment. Very well written, the film keeps you guessing while exploring the aforementioned themes in a way that makes you unsure of who to trust and how things are going to turn out.

Steven Soderbergh directs and turns in another stylistic film (but not overly so) that feels slick but manages to convey dark overtones effectively as well. It’s a very dialog driven thriller but is told in a way that keeps your intellect involved without feeling boring or clinical. Additionally this is a very topical project given our society’s reliance on taking pharmaceuticals for a myriad of reasons.

The acting is tight with Jude Law playing the doctor at the center of the controversy while standing toe-to-toe with Rooney Mara as she turns in another compelling performance. Catherine Zeta-Jones and Channing Tatum step up as well and deliver the goods in their respective roles. Not a weak link in the chain here, all the acting is executed with precision and passion.

I’d recommend seeing this one if you like intelligent thrillers…

reviewed by Sean McKnight