Disease, information, and trauma spread seamlessly in Steven Soderbergh’s Contagion, evoking a very nightmarish Internet-age disaster scenario that purposefully withholds all sense of certainty and control. The film’s constrained compositions and gripping hand-held cinematography focus on what can’t be detected or understood, an approach diametrically opposed to Hollywood’s usual brand of easy access theatrics. There are no aerial widescreen shots of catastrophic events (earthquakes, tidal waves, asteroids) no single group of heroes miraculously surviving the carnage to ensure humanity’s survival. Instead, Contagion begins with a simple cough, a familiar transference of sudden energy and air as perfectly innocuous as it is devastating.
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