For a film about a developing global pandemic, CONTAGION is a reserved and bloodless movie. With an ensemble cast and no central protagonist to carry the story, the film assembles a coherent plot from bits and pieces of other people’s stories.
The feeling of emotional distance keeps cropping up. The film is shot in cold, pale washed out colours, often heavily tinted in an array of blues and greys.
The soundtrack is simple and counterintuitive at times with an almost retro feel, one person fiddling around on a child’s keyboard\synthesizer.
And there are very few moments for the cast to wail and gnash their teeth, no moments of high drama where the lantern jawed hero turns things around at the last minute, instead director Steven Soderbergh lets the camera rest on his actors, using their reactions to establish the emotional resonance of the film.
This clinical detachment makes for a very cerebral experience when watching CONTAGION, stripping emotion from the film and replacing it with a cold awareness of how powerless and alone we all are.