This film somehow eased its way into my consciousness in the weeks before it was released. It wasn’t on my list of things I was looking forward to, but then I saw it was opening and who was in the cast and I decided I really fancied giving it a go. I quite like this sort of big ensemble cast movie and Contagion definitely falls into that category with a quite a few big names in the cast list. I’m also interested in the whole issue of epidemics, disease mutation and how our modern world allows such things to spread much more quickly than in earlier times.

So we start on Day 2. Gwyneth Paltrow has already got a bit of a nasty cough (in fact that’s the first thing we are aware of, over a black screen)and is on her way home from the far east where she has been on a business trip. She has made a stopover and we see her in the airport eating for her final flight (in more ways than one). Understatement of the year – she doesn’t look at all well, and you begin to be aware of all the people around her, and the things she touches as a matter of course. We see other people, apparently unconnected, falling ill and dying, It isn’t a spoiler to say that Gwyneth dies as well as this happens very quickly (someone on Twitter unkindly said that Gwyneth dying automatically made this a five-star film).

This is when the film really gets going as the scientists work around the clock to identify, contain and find a vaccine for this flu-type illness. Lots of people fall along the way before there is ultimately a resolution.

I was going to say that the scientists race to find a solution but that would be misleading, for this is not a film to see if you are looking for heaps of action. Its quiet and has a stately pace which has been off-putting to some. I even got into a Twitter exchange with Jonathan Ross (@wossy) over whether dull was the better word (he was generally disappointed with the film). But I found all the science stuff totally absorbing and in particular it was heartening to see how many of the scientists were women.

It was also good to see Matt Damon put in another one of his everyman performances as Gwyneth’s husband, trying to come to terms with his loss; because of the need to track where the illness originated from and how it was spread personal questions are asked which leads him to find out things about his wife which he didn’t know.

And Jude Law produces another one of his shady/creepy characters.

I liked the structure, with the disease already well under way when the film starts, although I was pleased to see that we got the full story of Day 1 at the end. I really enjoyed it. I’m not sure that it’s a film I would deliberately revisit, but its the type of movie that, if I came across it on TV I would watch to the end. The implications are frightening but it isn’t handled in a flashy or glib way.

This was my final watch for RIP VI.

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