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'Contagion' Thriller achieves a chilling effect

In

Contagion
Contagion

A global pandemic, bureaucracy and the effect of fear are some of the main elements and drama shown in the movie “Contagion” by director Steven Soderbergh.

When I heard about “Contagion,” it immediately reminded me of the movie “28 Days Later.” Before I watched the movie, I thought “Contagion” was going to be another movie that presents a fake apocalyptic scenario where humanity is threatened and viruses make people into zombies.

After watching it, I was surprised how Soderbergh succeeded in presenting a realistic scenario. In fact this movie brought back memories about the H1N1 pandemic that unleashed fear around the world.

Everything starts with an American woman, Beth, who’s on a business trip in Hong Kong. After returning, she get’s seriously sick by what will be named MEV-1.

People are in contact every day with objects and situations where viruses can spread easily and at a fast pace. Within a matter of days, a global pandemic develops, and millions of people, from major cities all around the world, become infected with this deadly virus.

Organizations like the Centers for Disease Control, Red Cross, Homeland Security and World Health Organization play an important role in the story by facing the difficult challenge of developing a vaccine to stop the disease. However, this wasn’t the most difficult challenge; keeping a control of society and avoiding panic attacks was also one of their biggest concerns.

Developing a vaccine that protected people from the MEV-1 took weeks, and the time of processing and distributing was also factored in. This made it harder to control the situation. Meanwhile, as the vaccine is being developed, one can see in the movie how society literally goes crazy. Fear is one of the biggest enemies of people, and the fear of contamination makes people isolated.

At the same time, as with any world issue, bureaucracy among national and global organizations hinders the process of finding a vaccine for MEV-1.

In addition, the power of the media and the popularity of the web present another situation where a popular and well-known journalist tries to persuade people to go against government measures.

There are many stories of people involved in this global issue. The film shows us the reactions from various perspectives. It shows the reaction and perspective to the pandemic from an individual, scientific and organizational level.

Despite the fact that several stories are presented in a short period of time, “Contagion” succeeds in showing enough details of each situation that it doesn’t create confusion among the audience.

There is a lack of drama, action and sensitivity due to the fact that there are thousands of people dying.

People just seem to care about surviving, being selfish and not expressing dramatic feeling toward their close-circle friends affected by MEV-1.

The film blends many realistic elements, and it manages to keep the attention of the audience during the 105 minutes. It succeeds in creating a credible and possible scenario of what could happen in a global pandemic. It might not be a movie full of action, but it will make the audience feel a little shiver whenever someone coughs or sneezes.

bcampero@unews.com

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