Soon after returning home from a business trip in Hong Kong, Beth Emhoff dies from what seems to be some sort of flu. Later the same day, her son also gets found dead in the house. While her husband, Mitch Emhoff, tries to make sense of it all and does what he can to protect his daughter, it becomes clear that there’s a deadly virus roaming the globe, causing more and more people to die at an alarming rate.
Investigators of the CDC (under the lead of Dr. Ellis Cheever) and other health organisations all over the world start tracing back Beth’s steps to find the root of the disease and cook up a cure, while wannabe journalist and blogger Alan Krumwiede claims they’re actually hiding the truth and a cure already exists…
Sound and Vision:
Contagion is filmed with a lot of use of yellow and blue filters, but strangely enough that doesn’t stop the movie from still feeling very natural. Black levels are deep, contrast is perfect, and the level of detail is very high. Overall a very impressive transfer.
The soundtrack is even more impressive. From the start on the subwoofer gets a lot of action thanks to the techno score that nicely supports what’s going on on the screen. The surrounds are used a lot to deliver environment sounds and the front stage has perfect placing and crystal clear dialogues. And when the situation requires silence to create an eery atmosphere, things immediately dimm down as they should. This isn’t an action blockbuster score, but perfectly uses subtle effects to create the sound that’s necessary.
– The Reality of Contagion
– The Contagion Detectives
– Contagion: How a Virus changes the world
– Digital Copy
If you look at the back cover of the disc, it seems there might be some interesting features on there, but reality shows the extras department is quite thin. A 2 minute feature of how you can prevent a virus from spreading, 5 minutes of the cast talking about discussions they had with real life scientists, and an 11 minute fact based discussion on how real a threat of a virus like the one in Contagion is.
With plenty of excellent documentaries out there regarding viruses, Warner definitely could have done a better job.
Unlike 1995′s Outbreak (with Dustin Hoffman), Contagion doesn’t try to be what it’s not: an action movie. And that’s a good thing.
The movie works as Soderberg has gathered a very good cast and manages to show several different storylines while not making things so complex they’re hardly possible to follow anymore. The multitude of different characters may be difficult to keep track of but Soderbergh keeps things tight enough that once things really start moving you quickly catch up.
Contagion focuses on the spreading of a virus, its effect on everyday life, the reactions of people in different circumstances, and how people’s steps are traced back to find the root of the outbreak as well as a cure. And while you might think this could be quite boring stuff, it actually isn’t. Its strength is that it focuses on the fear of the general public rather than going bonkers with action scenes.
All in all, Contagion is a smart movie that is delivered by Warner with a very strong transfer in the image and sound department, but the extras are a real letdown.