Friday, September 16, 2011


Did you know that the average person touches his or her face as many as 3,000 times a day? After seeing “Contagion,” you will. All the same, the movie felt a little too real for some. Burns hopes that for all of the medical data in “Contagion,” audiences will also take away a greater sense of interdependence. “It is our connection to each other that allows the virus to spread,” the screenwriter said. “But it’s also our connection to each other that tells us to care for one another.”

The big picture is terrifically well built, involving a CDC deputy director (Laurence Fishburne) responsible for coordinating response as well as the dissemination of information to a panic-prone public; the CDC Epidemic Intelligence Service officer (Kate Winslet) he sends into one of the first hot spots to work next to first responders; a medical researcher (Jennifer Ehle) racing to produce a vaccine; a WHO representative (Marion Cotillard) tracking global dissemination; and an independent activist blogger by the extravagant name of Alan Krumwiede (Jude Law), whose aggressive independent investigation and reporting on his guerrilla-truth website have their own viral effects. The movie's attitude toward the bloke is telegraphed by Law's prosthetic snaggletooth and duck-like walk. A stickler for details, Lipkin warned Kate Winslet, who plays the CDC’s Dr. Erin Mears, that she couldn’t fidget with her face mask — “You’re breaking your seal,” he told her — and instructed Gwyneth Paltrow, who plays Emhoff’s wife, Beth, what a seizure looks like, even if he thinks she might have foamed at the mouth just a bit too much in the finished film.

Contagion opens not with a bang but a shiver, as scenes of very ordinary, everyday life — little kids in a classroom, singles at a bar, waiters and busboys doing the handling and wiping for which they were hired — mask the catastrophe at hand. The movie ends not with a bang but more of a whew!, a few wan attempts at sentimental satisfaction, and an infectious thump of dread. I couldn't look away, and neither did I touch my face with my hands.

Last night I could tell I was catching something. My throat felt swollen and sore and it hurt to swallow. Then Jordan and I went to see this movie. After watching all the victims catch MEV-1 I felt that tickle in my throat. I was coughing and clearing my throat the entire time. I was thinking, oh no. What if I have some freaky virus and I’m going to die, i'm sure I'm running a fever. This movie was disturbing but a lot of fun and it is safe to say I am sufficiently paranoid now. I don’t want to shake hands, use a drinking fountain, turn a door knob. I think I need to disinfect my keyboard also.

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