Sunday, March 3, 2013

Side Effects (dir. Soderburgh)

It was only a matter of time before antidepressants and their side effects would be held responsible for a patient murdering someone. So many people take ssris (selective seratonin reuptake inhibitors) a common form of antidepressant, that we are familiar with the jargon associated with them. Side effects may include drowsiness, nausea, reduced sex drive, dizziness, etc. The name Ablixa is so close to some of the real names (Effexor, Prozac, Paxil, Zoloft) that it is convincing when we see it in an ad. The actors, Mara Rooney, who plays a depressed young woman, and Jude Law, who plays her psychiatrist, are very good in their roles. There are lesser characters equally well played: lawyers, policemen, mother in law.

Soderberg is a knowing cynic. He tackles the economy, insider trading, overuse of drugs, complicit deals between psychiatrists and drug companies. I was willing to follow him when the plot took a sharp turn and then continued to twist itself into knots. I worry that Catherine Zeta Jones is a heavy for the wrong reason since we are still a puritanical country. But the movie is expertly cast, shot, and acted. If only the plot were a little bit less like a pretzel.

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