Summary: Side Effects is a provocative thriller about Emily and Martin (Rooney Mara and Channing Tatum), a successful New York couple whose world unravels when a new drug prescribed by Emily’s psychiatrist (Jude Law) – intended to treat anxiety – has unexpected side effects.
Australian Cinema Release Date: 28th February, 2013
Australian DVD Release Date: TBA
Director: Steven Soderbergh
Screenwriter: Scott Z. Burns
Cast: Sasha Bardey (Dr. Peter Joubert), David Costabile (Carl), Victor Cruz (NYPD Officer Beahan), J. Claude Deering (Zach), Susan Gross (Susan), Mamie Gummer (Kayla), Russell G. Jones (Jeffrey Childs), Timothy Klein (Transporting Officer Klein), Jude Law (Dr. Jonathan Banks), Rooney Mara (Emily Taylor), Mitchell Michalisyzn (Ezra Banks), Michelle Vergara Moore (Joan), Vinessa Shaw (Diedre Banks), Channing Tatum (Martin Taylor), Vladimi Verssailles (Augustin), Catherine Zeta-Jones (Dr. Victoria Siebert)
Runtime: 106 mins
Dave Griffiths’s ‘Side Effects’ Review:
Director Steve Soderbergh (‘Magic Mike’, ‘Haywire’) has been pretty vocal about the fact that his latest release ‘Side Effects’ will be his final feature film and that he will now turn to a career in television. It seems an abrupt ending for a person that has been one of the most prolific filmmakers of the last decade, and if ‘Side Effects’ is to be his last film it will be a real shame as it is one of the very few average films he has released during his career.
‘Side Effects’ sees Emily Taylor (Rooney Mara – ‘Ain’t Them Bodies Saints’, ‘The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo) is struggling with life, it seems that her constant battle with depression has once again returned and she is also not coping with the fact that her husband Martin (Channing Tatum – ‘Magic Mike’, ’21 Jump Street’) has been released from prison after serving a term for insider trading.
After a suicide attempt in an underground car park Emily is referred to Dr. Jonathan Banks (Jude Law – ‘Rise Of The Guardians’, ‘Anna Karenina’) who tries to help the young woman get her life back on track. Determined to help her he seeks out her old doctor, Dr. Victoria Siebert (Catherine Zeta-Jones – ‘Broken City’, ‘Playing For Keeps) who suggests that he try some of the new medications that are on the market. It soon begins to look like Emily is on the road to recovery but that soon ends when it seems the side effects of one of the drugs results in her murdering Martin.
As a film ‘Side Effects’ is likely to frustrate a lot of it’s audience. While the closing credits are rolling you are likely to find yourself thinking ‘that was a pretty decent crime film’, but when you start to really think about it later on you find yourself pulling apart the plot and you soon realise that the ‘crime element’ of the story falls into place way too easily and that it is highly unbelievable. In fact after much though you’ll realise that ‘Side Effects’ is pretty much just an extended (and rather poor) episode of ‘Law & Order’.
It is a real surprise that Steven Soderbergh has realised such a slack thriller. In the past Soderbergh has released suspenseful action films such as ‘Haywire’ while even his more experimental films like ‘The Girlfriend Experience’ have had a real edge to them… something that ‘Side Effects’ certainly doesn’t have, hence it’s television movie feel.
In another surpise for a Soderbergh film the performances of most of the cast are bland to say the least. Rooney Mara really had the chance to step-up and deliver a powerful performance but she doesn’t, while it seems that Catherine Zeta-Jones and Channing Tatum simply breezed their way through their roles without really trying. The only person who seems to make an effort is Jude Law who is a lot better than what he was in ‘Anna Karenina’.
‘Side Effects’ is a real disappointment, it may entertain you while you are in the cinema but you are guaranteed to think ill of it once you’ve had a chance to really think about it.
Other Subculture Media Reviews of ‘Side Effects′: Check Episode #22 of our The Good The Bad The Ugly Podcast for a more in-depth review of ‘Side Effects’. Dave Griffiths also has another review of ‘Side Effects’ available on the Helium Entertainment Channel.