Film Review: Side Effects (2013)

One thing I’ve always liked about Steven Soderbergh is that he is always trying something new. Throughout his filmography, there is an eclectic mix of projects, ranging from heist films (the Ocean’s series), to sci-fi (Solaris, Contagion), to explorations into sexuality (The Girlfriend Experience, Magic Mike), to his supposed final feature film, Side Effects, a psychological thriller. Although Soderbergh’s films tended to be hit or miss, I’ve always felt he had a distinct style that, regardless of the premise, was always uniquely his own. I sincerely hope Soderbergh finds a way to work in the film industry again, but at least he is not gone from cinema for good quite yet, as he is still working in television.

Side Effects features Jude Law and Rooney Mara in a complicated doctor-patient relationship that ultimately leads to a much greater conspiracy after a tragic incident occurs while Emily (Mara) is under the influence of a new pharmaceutical drug that her psychiatrist, Dr. Banks (Law), prescribed to her. Like most thrillers, the story reveals each layer of the plot gradually, and there are many twists and turns along the way that lead to an ultimate revealing at the end. While you may figure out some pieces of the puzzle on your own, the script is well-written enough to keep you guessing, and the production values and performances are enjoyable enough to make the ride worthwhile.

Overall, I enjoyed Side Effects, but I would really only recommend this film to those who are, in particular, fans of Soderbergh or one of the stars (I became a Rooney Mara fan after her turn as Lisbeth Salander). It is good enough on its own even if you don’t have a preference toward any of the major players involved, although I don’t see why anyone would watch this film if they weren’t—it just doesn’t present that type of mainstream appeal.

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One Response to “Film Review: Side Effects (2013)”

  1. CMrok93 Says:

    By the third act when the second gut-punch is landed to the audience, it changes your view on the movie entirely so effortlessly, it kind of had me floored. Nice review Skyler.

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