Contagion starts off with Gwyenth Paltrow in an airport waiting to go back home from her business trip in Hong Kong. At the bottom of the screen are the words ‘Day 2’ in red. Every so often through out the film the audience is warned of how long it has been since people started getting sick. Paltrow portrays Beth, a beautiful, married woman that the audience discovers within minutes of the film that she is cheating on her husband, Mitch (portrayed by Matt Damon) with someone else. She becomes increasingly sick and by the time she gets home, she falls to the ground and has seizures. Mitch rushes her to the hospital where she is announced dead. Moments later, her son Clark (portrayed by Griffin Kane) is also dead. Scared, lonely and confused Mitch doesn’t know where to turn. The Center for Disease Control and the World Health Organization get involved and are striving to figure out how this began, how many people will get infected and can they find a cure before the outbreak terminates everyone. Mitch is forced to go through an incubation period, and discovers that he is immune. He finally is allowed to be let out into the public and live with his daughter, but chaos begins to ensue.
The acting in this film is incredible. Everyone in the main cast either won an Academy Award or was nominated for one. Matt Damon is remarkable as the doting father striving to help his daughter (portrayed by Anna Jacoby-Heron) survive in a world full of chaos. Laurence Fishburne is great as Dr. Cheever he is intelligent, strong and is capable of making the audience feel safe when he is in a scene. His presence although powerful, is very comforting for a viewer. His portrayal of a doctor in a time of madness is spot on. Kate Winslet was intriguing as Dr. Mears, she is brilliant, anxious and passionate about her job and about the safety of others. Marion Cotillard is captivating as Dr. Orantes. She is sweet, vulnerable and composed. Cotillard, like Fishburne has extraordinary presence on screen. Jude Law delivered a fine performance as blogger, Alan Krumiede. His character is exasperating. He is annoying and although quite smart, he was very irritating and greedy.
Contagion is a must see film. Soderbergh directed a powerful story and how he tied up the ending was genius. The final scene for me was what made the entire film. He had a ton of great shots, especially one when Fishburne is driving in a car and the audience sees his face in the review mirror but also everything around him. Also, of course the ending was beautifully shot. Contagion is a highly recommended film to people that enjoys thrillers, suspense, and a gripping tale of how one person can change the lives of millions.