Contagion Review

All great art is about something deeper than it cares to admit. On the surface Contagion maybe about a global pandemic, but beneath its masterfully crafted layers, it is about the only thing in the world that seems to spread faster than the virus in question in the movie – fear.

Steven Soderbergh uses the same hyperlink narrative style he popularized with his 2000 hit Traffic, and surprisingly, it yields even better results. Far reaching in its scope, Contagion brings about a feeling of oneness gradually through its narrative, in my opinion to highlight the collective emotions of empathy and fear the world trembles with irrespective of nationality in the times of such a pandemic.

Any talk about this movie would irreverent if it does not deem the medical world aspect of this tale worthy enough to broach. More than anything, I appreciated Contagion for not dumbing down its content so as to suit the general audiences. Although I am sure Soderbergh kept the science intact because of his integrity towards his work, it further accentuates the tension the movie generates because our incapability to comprehend the technical complications of dealing with a pandemic of such seriousness further helps in creating a feeling of helplessness in our minds. This helplessness further brought me closer to the hearts of the people in Contagion who live in constant fear not because of the deadly nature of the virus, but because of their ignorance and disillusioned nature regarding the resolving of this issue.

With a cast so large and so talented, it will be monotonous on my part to call out each one of them and appreciate them, for  every cast member shines in their role. However, I wouldn’t get a sound sleep tonight if I do not mention how Kate Winslet gives a shattering performance as Dr. Erin Mears. Whenever she is onscreen, Winslet establishes herself as the emotional backbone of this movie which is a stellar achievement in a cast that includes the likes of Marion Cotillard and Matt Damon among others.

The only fallacy in this near-perfect movie seems to be the sub-plot involving a blogger who utilizes this pandemic to generate profits. While I cannot make a case against the fact that this subplot falls short compared to others, this movie could not have been complete without it as well. How can a movie about the wide-reaching effects of a pandemic gives miss to the culpability the fourth estate amounts to in such situations ?

Contagion is a spine-tingling experience which goes about its matters in a discreet manner, and in turn, succeeds in creating an atmosphere which helps the viewer to pay attention and feel empathy for all the characters of this movie who are interspersed geographically but connected emotionally. And the last five minutes of this movie make a good case for it to contain the scariest ending of any movie ever made till date.

RATING :- 9.4 / 10

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Apocalypse Now Review

Apocalypse Now is loosely based on a book named ‘In The Heart Of Darkness’. Francis Ford Coppola in this 153 minute lacerating experience attempts one of the most ambitious and perilous endeavor in cinematic history – to transport his viewer right in the middle of the savagery which unfolded in Vietnam.

Apocalypse Now is more about the human mind rather than the war. It is easy to be fooled by this, since it does actively pursue its plot. But it is those abhorrent images which transpire on the screen that are the actual narrative. One could make the case, and to much success I presume, that Apocalypse Now has probably the greatest cinematic footage ever shot. The camera of Vittorio Storaro concots a pirouette of death all over. But even in the amidst of this violence, the screenplay by John Milius and Coppola still holds a spotlight over a bunch of characters towards whom we foster a sense of emotional attachment.

Coppola attempts to explore in Apocalypse Now, the concomitants of violence on the human mind. Take the scene with the Playboy bunnies which brings forth the animalistic libido fostered in men in continuous combat. However Coppola draws a line between the soldiers who fleet through this movie and the crew on board the boat. The crew that stays throughout this journey, a descendence from sanity to insanity, make an effort to preserve their humanity. There is an extremely heart-warming scene where Lance (Sam Bottom) takes on board a puppy which he finds in his ambush and takes care of it.

I have often come down hard on war movies while talking about them, and this maybe due to the fact of my personal beliefs that war holds no nobility or morality. Francois Truffaut once said ‘It’s not possible to make an anti-war movie, because all war movies, with their energy and sense of adventure, end up making combat look like fun’. However, Coppola seems to turn the tables on him, for the war here does look like fun, just not to the viewer.

Apocalypse Now belongs to the history books and it feels to me that whatever I talk about in praise of this movie will amount to nothing more than if I praise water. But sure as hell, I will never forget this movie. It held me spellbound and gaping at the violence that unfolds in war, and I couldn’t help but feel sorry for anyone who had to witness it. It is not an anti or pro war movie, but it sure is a pro-human movie.

RATING :- 9.5 / 10

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