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Review: Side Effects

Placebo effect
By PETER KEOUGH  |  February 8, 2013
2.5 2.5 Stars

This was the second film I had seen in one day that owed a debt to Hitchcock and featured a presumably psychotic, possibly homicidal female. So maybe I'm overreacting when I see regression in Hollywood's attitude toward women. That is, they are demonizing them.

Let's start with Hitchcock. As with Psycho, the studio has forbidden anyone from entering a screening of Steven Soderbergh's Side Effects after the film begins because of its "non-linear nature." I assume that refers to its extensive, and awkward, use of flashbacks, because the story isn't so much full of surprises as it is riddled with plot holes. But the proviso does put pressure on critics to reveal as little as possible for fear of spoilers.

So, in brief, Emily (Rooney Mara), whose husband (Channing Tatum) has just returned from a prison term for insider trading, is depressed. A shrink (Jude Law) prescribes a new drug and, well, it apparently has side effects. And then there are the ruthless lesbians and. . . .

Maybe I've said too much. Side Effects looks classy, keeps your interest, and has attractive actors. Soderbergh says that it is his last movie. Ironically, the filmmaker who started his career with sex, lies, and videotape, a film boosting female sexuality and empowerment, now ends it with a so-so thriller that resorts to the same old misogyny.

  Topics: Reviews , Movies, Steven Soderbergh, review,  More more >
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