|The Frankfurt-Tipp rating:|
|Original title:||Side Effects|
|Production country:||USA 2013|
|Running time:||Approx. 106 min.|
It was a news that must have shocked many movie lovers: Director Steven Soderbergh had announced his intention to retire from the movie business. At least in the near future there will be no new feature films from Soderbergh, because he simply doesn't want to accept the restriction of creative freedom by producers and studio bosses anymore. His probably last film, a biopic about Liberace with Michael Douglas and Matt Damon, he only produced for an American cable channel HBO. Even though this film will probably still be released in other countries, Soderbergh's official farewell to the cinema business is the thriller Side Effects - Deadly Side Effects. And it's another impressive demonstration of why Soderbergh is one of the best and most versatile filmmakers of his generation, despite a few creative flops.
The story centers on young Emily (Rooney Mara), whose well-off life is completely broken when her husband Martin (Channing Tatum) is sent to prison for several years for insider trading. From then on, Emily's daily life is dominated by depression, which she tries to hide from Martin when he is finally released from prison. But the pressure becomes too much and Emily's despair ends in a suicide attempt. Only the promise to visit him in his office several times a week persuades ambitious psychiatrist Dr. Jonathan Banks (Jude Law) not to commit Emily to lockdown. After conferring with Emily's former therapist (Catherine Zeta-Jones), Dr. Banks plans to use extended conversations and a new psychiatric drug to get the young woman's anxiety disorder under control, allowing her to live a completely normal life. But the new drug has enormous side effects that have fatal consequences for Emily and Martin's marriage and for Dr. Banks' career.
Side Effects - Deadly Side Effects brings back memories of another Steven Soderbergh film at the beginning. After Emily's breakdown and the appearance of Dr. Banks, the whole thing almost feels like a slightly more dramatic, pharmaceutical industry-targeted version of Erin Brokovich. With very clever dialogue scenes between Banks, his colleagues and representatives of the pharmaceutical industry, some of which are extremely funny in their real-life absurdity, Soderbergh cleverly stirs up an air of expectation that he counters with a surprising twist. The questions of medical ethics, the often careless use of psychotropic drugs in the USA and the influence of the pharmaceutical industry on the work of doctors and psychologists continue to play a central role. Nevertheless, in the second half the film transforms into a cleverly constructed thriller that, despite its not unexpected resolution, manages to grip you until the end.
Although Jude Law delivers a very convincing performance as a doctor desperately fighting for his reputation, career and marriage, in the end it is Rooney Mara who manages to leave a particularly lasting impression. Mara, who picked up an Oscar nomination for her portrayal of Lisbeth Salander in David Fincher's US remake of Blinded, delivers a performance that actually only becomes enormously compelling with the twist in the film's final minutes. While her performance is already very good up to that point, it's the revelation of another side to this character that gives it a very special and lasting flavor.
Side Effects - Deadly Side Effects is an intelligent, clever and highly entertaining thriller that is dramatically, acting and visually compelling across the board. It may not be Steven Soderbergh's best film. But if it really is his last cinema production, then the filmmaker has at least said goodbye to his audience on a very high creative level - which would make a possible return in a few years all the more well received. But no matter if Soderbergh is retiring or just taking a break, the quality of Side Effects - Deadly Side Effects won't be affected. If you like thrillers of the more sophisticated kind, this film is highly recommended. Absolutely worth seeing
An article by Frankfurt-Tipp