Side Effects (dir. Steven Soderbergh) 2013


Side effects is an interesting psychological thriller. The story is good; with a number of twists and turns along the way. The subject matter is pretty dark; involving the marketing and side effects of prescribed medication.

None of the major characters in the film are nice people, all of them are manipulative and duplicitous, so it is hard to feel empathy when bad things happen to them.
Having said that, Rooney Mara and Jude Law both put in compelling performances. Steven Soderbergh is a reliably good director, and the direction of this film suits the subject matter well. The setting is modern urban and you are made to feel the adversity and frustrations of their day-to-day life.

The dialogue is sharp and the story is clever, a Hitchcock style chiller, that enjoyed a revival in the 1980s, but is out of fashion now.  I dislike how calculating everybody turns out to be; every character is using everybody else with no regard to their welfare or needs. Perhaps this is a comment on the pharmacological industry, but it feels implied of the world in general and this is too dystopian an outlook to make easy viewing. The problem is, the acting and directing are good, so you can see their motivation and at times it is tempting to believe that it could be true.

In summary, this is a well made movie, that seems little too cold and analytical for its own good now; however, in the future, with the benefit of hindsight, it is possible,  that this might be one of those films that we look back on as capturing the mood of the world at that time. I hope not, but I want someone remind me to watch it again in 15 years time.


8 thoughts on “Side Effects (dir. Steven Soderbergh) 2013

  1. Sounds very much like what’s going on in the world today. I don’t think you have to wait to see that it is. I’m not going to see it and I’m so happy that I read your wonderful review. It would be overkill and I’m tired of people like that. You described our government to perfection. Thank you.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. You’ve summed up exactly how I felt about this movie! It left me cold, and uncomfortable, but I couldn’t really explain why. It still plays on my mind though, so perhaps it was better than I thought?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes it does stay with you, so there might some truth in it, but it would be depressing to think that society might actually be like that! Actually, I’ve just thought – it is about people who suffer from depression, so maybe it is seeing society from their viewpoint?


  3. Interesting take. I understand where you are coming from here, even though I found this film too emotionally empty with a predictable and lukewarm ending. Soderbergh is not that kind of the director which will leave you emotionally devastated because he is more interested in his clever, intellectual, almost documentary-like paces.

    Liked by 1 person

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