June 9, 2013

My review of the newest Soderbergh movie, “Side Effects” is now up online. Not exactly a PSA for a drug-free America, it does raise some serious shtie about the abuse of prescription pills.

What prompted Kerry Russel’s character in “The Americans” to observe that there’s a “frailty and weakness in the people” is likely due in part to the population’s dependence on psychotheraphy and legal, mood-altering substances.

Watch it for the mind fuck noir kick!

Movie review: ‘Side Effects’ and the perils of pills for psychic self-defense


By June 9, 2013 1:28pm
“Love and Other Drugs” already expostulated with definitive, exhaustive authority on the small-scale effects of maintenance pills on long-time Parkinson’s sufferers and its potential for comedy, relationship drama, and the medical rep trade. Good thing director Steven Soderbergh takes a completely different, serious tack with “Side Effects.”

Revealing any of the twists (at least the two major ones) would completely ruin the experience of this whodunit of a thriller for you, so we’ll keep this review to the bare bones.

So what happens when you mix prescription pills for psychic self-defense?

This movie gleefully dives into the ramifications of pharmaceutical treatment for psychological ills, specifically on anti-depressant drugs.

We begin with Emily Taylor (Rooney Mara), who is one truly depressed woman. Her husband, Martin (Channing Tatum), has just been released from prison after serving four years for insider trading. He would have gotten away clean but, like many financial guys on the up and up, he got greedy and he got sloppy. So, he got caught.

While Emily and Martin’s mom are amped that he’s out of the big house, the family is still at ground zero when it comes to money. While she claims there’s no connection to their financial woes, Emily shortly afterwards drives her car right smack into the concrete wall of an underground parking lot. Apparent suicide attempt? Everybody seems to think so.

She wakes up in the care of psychiatrist Jonathan Banks (Jude Law), her assigned headshrinker. The good doc fears for her safety but she convinces him to set her free on the condition that she attends sessions with him on a regular basis.

From there on she’s prescribed a number of anti-depressant medications. Thing is, none of them work.

The crime aspect of this movie can actually be traced to that session when Dr Banks prescribes Emily a drug that she’s never been on. This switch, and the resulting cocktail of the other stuff she’s on, has the alleged, unintentional “side effects” of the title.

Soderbergh has outdone himself here. This time he takes on the minutiae of the day-to-day grind of a depressive’s life. He shows how it is to have a growing dependence on a pharmacy in your bathroom cabinet as opposed to the macro scale of the illegal drug trade’s explosive casualties in “Traffic.”

Read the rest of the review HERE.


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