Even removing the buzz of Side Effects being Steven Soderbergh's last film, it is an engaging thriller reminiscent of old school whodunnits with modern twist.
When I watched Side Effects, I picked up on a key clue imperative to the final reveal, and not only did I not care, it didn’t ruin the ending and I was gripping the edge of my seat through to the final minutes.
Weaving themes of power, market, psychology and pharmaceuticals, at its root, Side Effects is an interwoven thriller of dramatic proportions of motive and murder.
From the first frame, all is not right in Steven Soderbergh’s Side Effects, even prior to panning in to the interior of the lead characters’ New York City apartment. This directorial approach is apparent immediately and the rest of the film follows suit. I didn’t particularly find the web of deception and intrigue particularly novel or complex, and yet I was still hooked in the crime narrative. The first Act acts as a foundation for the rest of the film to rest, and though it loses much of its power with a secondary viewing, it is dramatic and captivating and relies entirely on the nuanced performances of Rooney Mara and Channing Tatum as a weakened couple.
It is with Jude Law‘s detective work that the riveting power of the film is retained. As he uncovers the flaws and mounting evidence in the headlining events that happened around him, the audience watches drawing their own conclusions.
I do think a lot of Side Effects success is the abysmally low bar set by the film industry for crime thrillers. Not to say this isn’t a good film, but perhaps its perception of greatness is a mirage and an illusion.