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Home Theater Movie Renter's Guide - May, 2013

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"Side Effects" (Blu-ray) - Reviewed by Chris Heinonen

movie-may-2013-side-effects

Synopsis

After her husband is released from prison, Emily begins to suffer from anxiety and depression, leading to a suicide attempt with her car.  At the hospital she encounters Dr. Banks, who she begins to see to treat her for her depression.  At first the drugs don’t help her, as the side effects are worse to her and her husband than the depression is.  Finally she finds a new drug and her doctor agrees to put her on it.  The side effects are a bit strange, including a bit of sleepwalking, but it helps to snap her out of her depression.

As her use of it continues, she discovers that the side effects of the drug might be more than she bargained for.  At the same time, Dr. Banks begins to wonder about his treatment and if he had missed something, or if something else was wrong all along.

Specifications

  • 2013, Rated R, 1 hour 47 min
  • Universal
  • AVC 1080p, 1.85:1
  • DTS-MA 5.1
  • Starring: Channing Tatum, Rooney Mara, Jude Law
  • Directed by: Steven Soderbergh
Rating
  • Entertainment:
  • Video:
  • Audio:
  • Extras:
  • Violence: Yes
  • Sex: Yes
  • Language: Yes

Commentary

Soderbergh might not be at the very top of his powers anymore, but he still does a better job than most.  Aside from knowing that Soderbergh directed it, I had no knowledge about anything else in Side Effects before watching, and found myself really pulled into the film.  The pacing and buildup reminded me a bit of his work in Contagion, where it might be slightly clinical and analytical, and doesn’t really excite you, but as the film builds you find yourself really wanting to know what is going to happen.

The performances from Jude Law and Rooney Mara are also quite good.  Side Effects is certainly not a happy film, and one that’s going to leave you bubbly and cheery on the way out of the theater, or even leave you exhilarated with excitement.  It is a very good film, and one that I certainly enjoyed watching and likely will again in the future.

Technical

Shot digitally on a RED camera, the image on Side Effects looks very good on Blu-ray.  It doesn’t have the large dynamic range that some other digital cameras do, but I didn’t spot a hint of any other flaws in the image.  The soundtrack is much more reserved, with not that much use of the surround channels during the film.  Most importantly vocals were clear and crisp, even when dialog was being spoken at a whisper, so I never had to repeat a scene to understand what was being said.

Extras

Included on the Blu-ray are a couple commercials for the fake drugs in the film and a pair of featurettes.  There is also a DVD and an UltraViolet copy as well.