New To Blu: Side Effects

Users of this film may experience: Headache, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, excellent acting, and powerful story telling that hinges on near perfect performances.

Soderbergh's latest dramatic effort is a slow moving affair that qualifies as his best since 2009's The Informant. It's also one of my favorite dramas of 2013 so far. Side Effects is a character driven study in human nature and the mysterious evil that just might lie below the surface. It's also a powerful social commentary on the use of prescription drugs and the horrible "side effects" that mental illness patients may endure through a steady diet of ever changing prescriptions. Through the first 45 minutes of this film I struggled, but once it got moving I was fully engrossed in this non-typical motion picture.

Jude Law takes the lead in Side Effects with a role that's extremely similar to his character in Contagion. The performances could be interchanged with little notice. But, he's still spectacular in the part. Law's talent only seems to grow with age. Rooney Mara (the second Lisbeth Salander) also stars in the role of crazy Emily with attention to detail and a human spark that some of her past characterizations have missed. From the little I've seen of her, this is her most formidable work and a step in the right direction for her career.  Catherine Zeta-Jones and her new face offer terrific support as Channing Tatum plays second fiddle to them all. Once a Tatum basher, I have recently become a bit more supportive of his talents.

Side Effects is not an edge of your seat thriller that moves at a frenetic pace. It's a movie that takes its time building to some of the best climactic twists I've seen this year or in recent history. The lack of constant music throughout the film sets a tone of realism as only Soderbergh can deliver. Take the time to see this one. You might have a hard time getting through the first act, but when it gets moving, be ready for some of the most creative plot turns you'll experience this year.