Monday, February 11, 2013

Side Effects

I have finally come to the realization that I do not need to review EVERY movie that I see; especially since I am 80% sure that I am the only one who actually saw Smashed in the theater.  Even the family members of those involved in the film decided to wait for Red Box. But since this is Steven Sodomy’s last film, I figured he deserved at least an honorary mention. He’s apparently too much of an artist to continue doing something trivial like making films. My buddy and I have a side bet on when he returns to make Ocean’s 8; after he’s done sculpting a life size replica of himself or after his exhibit in Soho featuring nothing but Polaroids.
I call him Steven Sodomy because it seems like with every other film he makes, he gets too self indulgent and releases over stylized garbage that makes you feel like you’ve been anally raped. But then he always comes back with something that’s somewhat decent and you actually hope he finally reaches his potential. Well it looks like his swan song in Side Effects leaves you wondering if he actually quit too soon because he leaves us with a fairly tense thriller.
I hate to be so vague in describing the plot but I literally cannot say anything that would’ve give the story away. You are first introduced to Emily (Rooney Mara) who along with his mother is arriving at the prison to pick up Martin (Channing Tatum). I don’t even know why I bother with the character’s names; it’s not like we ever disassociate from the actors anyway. It has been 4 years since Tatum went to jail for insider trading and naturally the first few interactions between he and Mara are a little awkward but they seem to still genuinely love each other and are trying to get back to normal.  Until one morning when Mara mysteriously drives her car into a wall in an apparent suicide attempt. You then learn that she has battled depression before and received therapy for it from Catherine Zeta Jones. Her latest psychiatrist in Jude Law consults with Zeta and after a few attempts with other medication, takes Zeta’s recommendation on the latest drug to hit the market to give to Mara. And at first things seem to be going well and then one day an incident happens that completely changes the lives of everyone involved.
I will leave the rest for you to discover on your own as you are floored at almost every corner after this point. The only problem is you almost give up on the film until this incident because the first act seems like typical over stylized Soderberg; too much unnecessary weird lighting. But once he gets this out of his system the story starts to take shape and you are literally guessing at what is coming next. At first glance you start to think that this movie will be another sermon on the dangerous side effects of prescription drugs, and to a certain extent it is, but the movie takes on quite a few more themes than that.
The ending seems a bit over the top but it’s necessary for the story to work. Emily was originally supposed to be played by Blake Lively and I am not sure at what point Sodomy realized that this was a mistake but thankfully he came to his senses and brought on the one hundred times more talented Rooney Mara instead. She is mesmerizing and the sole reason why this movie works. Again, I cannot get into specifics why but just see for yourself and let me know what you think. I rate this movie as FRESH and no it’s not because I got see Mara’s boobs, but that certainly does help.

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