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Contagion / Rated PG-13 for adult themes, violence, bad words and gruesome death.

Director Steven Soderbergh (Ocean’s 11, 12 and 13, Erin Brockovich and Traffic) returns with a story about disease and death. Aside from the delightful end-of-summer fun topics this is a well made, almost documentary-like film, which chronicles what happens when a disease starts killing people and spreads worldwide in a matter of seconds. A big-time cast including Gwyneth Paltrow (who dies early in the story and has to act her way through a scene where she is dead and her skull is opened up), Matt Damon, Laurence Fishburne, Jude Law and Elliott Gould make things believable even when they are not.

Seems GP is a business woman whose visit to Hong Kong brings back more than a bamboo umbrella from her cocktail glass. As things go from bad to worse and the disease she carries spreads throughout the universe, everybody in the medical field gets busy trying to figure out what to do about it. Everybody else either dies or panics or panics then dies. This is not good for anybody except for the surgical mask industry, which experiences their best quarter on record.

Contagion has a lot in common with a lot of films which sported the same disease disaster theme. As a movie it provides a story close in tone to the theatrical version of the Michael Crichton novel, then film, The Andromeda Strain (1971) directed by Robert Wise. The score to TAS was electronic and there to provide sound effects rather than music, for which composer Gil Melle was known. Contagion has a spooky score by Cliff Martinez who does his best to do what Gil M. did, but without us knowing it.

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This story follows a workman-like development from GP coughing in the opening scene to the resolution, not saying if it’s good or bad, 100 minutes later. Many of the images of looting and violence means this is not for kids. Since the story is beyond their ability to understand or enjoy, leave them home.

Remember to wash you hands before heading to the theater. Do not share your popcorn with anyone in the theater. I did. My throat is starting to hurt.

Rated 3.0 out of 4.0 doses it will take of an antibiotic to make it feel better. I think I had better lay down for a while.

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