Prescription for a Mindfuck

A Pharmacological Thriller from Steven Soderbergh

Prescription for a Mindfuck

SIDE EFFECTS Drugs, not hugs.

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One year after the surprising Magic Mike—in which rich social commentary was oiled up and shoved into a G-string—Steven Soderbergh returns with another stealthy triumph. For its first 30 or so minutes, Soderbergh's Side Effects presents itself as a straightforward drama, in which a young woman (Rooney Mara) awaits the release of her insider-trading husband (Channing Tatum) from prison. During his time away, she's attempted to correct her ever-worsening depression with a variety of medications, all doctor prescribed, each carrying its own bundle of side effects, from sexual dysfunction to sleepwalking.

As this introductory story proceeds, it draws in a psychiatrist (Jude Law) with deep ties to the pharmaceutical industry, and between the on-the-nose plot points and light melodrama, I wondered if Soderbergh was working some artisanal, postmodern spin on the Lifetime Movie. But as Side Effects continues, another film reveals itself—the real film, the one I encourage you to see, in a big theater crowded with other people.

It's impossible to discuss further specifics without spoiling the movie, so let me just say that it all adds up to a twisty, chilling, sometimes goofy (in a good way) Hollywood thrill ride. The screenplay, by Scott Z. Burns, does just what it should, the performances are all perfectly fine or better (Jude Law remains, in my eyes, a slender vat of unflavored pudding, but this suits his role perfectly), and having someone with the mastery of Soderbergh steering the whole thing is continually rewarding. recommended


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Claypatch 1
Saw the movie yesterday and I can agree with David's assesment: Its a perfectly good, if not great, thriller and has some very surprising plot twists. Its actually a fairly complicated story and its a credit to Soderbergh that he is capable of keeping the complexity in the story, not dumbing it down the way too many Hollywood movies do, and keeps it all moving along in a timely manner. Definitely worth a viewing.
Posted by Claypatch on February 10, 2013 at 10:57 PM · Report this

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