Soderbergh's Side Effects - a 'thrill ride for grown-ups'

Mar 8, 2013

Rooney Mara and Jude Law star in Hitchcock-style tale of prescription drugs gone wrong

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What you need to know
Steven Soderbergh's new psychological thriller Side Effects opens in UK cinemas today. Soderbergh, best known for Sex, Lies, and Videotape, Contagion and Traffic, has said this is the last movie he will direct - he now prefers painting and working in TV.

The film tells the story of a successful New York couple, Emily and Martin, whose lives begin to fall apart when an anti-depressant prescribed by Emily's psychiatrist has unexpected side effects.

Rooney Mara (The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo) stars as Emily and Channing Tatum (Magic Mike) is her partner, Martin. Jude Law and Catherine Zeta-Jones play psychiatrists.

What the critics like
"A thrill ride for grown-ups, suspenseful, whip-smart and crammed with surprises," says Ian Freer in Empire. It starts on a note of horror, includes a portrait of clinical depression and turns into "a gripping Hitchcockian potboiler".

Just see it, says Richard Corliss in Time. This excellent Hitchcock-style murder mystery has all kinds of feints and decoys, but its biggest surprise is "a peculiarly watchable" performance from Rooney Mara. If this is Soderbergh's swan song, "it's got a haunting melody".

The characters are well-acted without being entirely likeable, "which makes their jeopardy all the more enjoyable", says Ben Walters in Time Out.

What they don't like
It'll go down as minor, if clever, sleight-of-hand Soderbergh film, says Tim Robey in the Daily Telegraph. But it's a reminder that "few other contemporary American directors are this coolly playful with genre".

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