Sunday, February 10, 2013

Side Effects

After seeing so many amazing films in December and January, it was hard for me to get excited about watching a "regular" movie. However, I missed the theater, because it's like a second home for me and all. I have seen the trailer for Identity Thief at least 300 times, so I decided to skip out on the big moneymaker this weekend. The trailer for Side Effects was a bit vague, which always intrigues me. Also, this is director Steven Soderbergh's final film, as he plans to retire from directing. This mind brought us many great films, such as the Ocean's trilogy, Magic Mike, and Erin Brockovich, so it is worth noting. While my expectations were not very high, I was hopeful that my 2013 movie-watching calendar would get off to a great start...

The depth of the Side Effects plot was very surprising, and, towards the end of the film, I think everyone in the theater was a little confused about how many different elements were crashing down on one another. The various twists and turns were not complicated, but the explanation of those twists was not at all clear, making it a little hard to follow. However, it was quite interesting, and the addition of an insider trading incident enticed the business part of my brain. The best part was how long the drama was held out. Normally, the twists and turns all happen at the end of the film, but that was not the case with Side Effects. Instead, the twists kept rolling through the entire second half of the film, which I enjoyed.

Unfortunately, the Side Effects characters didn't quite live up to the story in which they were placed. I am a fan of each and every actor that starred in a major role (except maybe Zeta), but they just weren't as good as they could have been.

This reference may be overkill by now, but I loved Channing Tatum in 21 Jump Street. Hopefully, he will begin to choose his roles more wisely and stay with roles similar to his Jump Street character, because he certainly can't play a Wall Street guy. His role of Martin Taylor, husband to Rooney Mara's Emily, was very dull and undoubtedly the worst of the film. Also, Laila Robins, who played the partner of Jude Law's Dr. Banks, could have been the worst actress I have ever seen in my life. I don't know how someone that old could possibly have stayed in the business for so long, but it was just plain awful.

Rooney Mara was able to channel her inner Girl with the Dragon Tattoo for her role as depressed wifey Emily Taylor. The character was not anywhere near as intense as ol Lisbeth, but her attitudes were similarly depressing and sad to look at. She did a great job, but I would really like to see her play a different character in her next role. Maybe she could even smile! As Dr. Banks, a psychiatrist with patient problems, Jude Law was as good as ever. For some reason, he comes off to me as a very genuine guy, which is good in a film where you are the supposed good guy. I will not tell you what becomes of Banks and Emily, but their relationship provides many twists and turns. Some good... some not as good. At times they don't interact too well with one another. However, the characters, by themselves, are great.

My first actual 2013-released film was not at all a disappointment, as Side Effects kept me interested and guessing throughout. The performances were not spectacular, but that is coming from the mind that last witnessed the amazing ensemble of Silver Linings Playbook, in which the acting was amazing. Regardless, the story was the focal point of Soderbergh's Swan Song, and he went out with a bang. Now, we must pray that 2013 can keep it up and produce many more memorable moments in film. I give Side Effects 3.01 out of 5 stars and warn you to check with your doctor before watching this film. Also, make sure aren't pregnant, nursing, or maybe becoming pregnant during the film. See what I did there!


  1. Fine review Tanner. It's not likely to linger in your memory for a long time after watching it, but it's nonetheless very entertaining.

  2. I think I liked the performances here more than you did, but we agree that this was definitely a strong note for Soderbergh to go out on nonetheless. Nice review. :)