Directed by Steven Soderbergh
On general release from 8th March 2013
With more twists than a stick of liquorice and just as dark, this film
leaves a nasty taste in the mouth and like most medicines it is a bitter
pill to swallow.
Director Soderburgh's imagination sets in motion a series of events increasingly
hard to digest - a toxic mix of depression, greed, repression and survival
instinct at all costs; sentiments paralleled in the murky downside world
of the drugs industry and of risky high finance in an increasingly dystopian
Emily (Rooney Mara) is happily married until her husband Martin (Channing
Tatum) is sent to prison for insider dealing. His incarceration triggers
increasing bouts of depression for Emily and from here on in normality
After smashing her car into a brick wall she is put under upwardly mobile
psychiatric practitioner Dr Jonathan Banks (Jude Law). She keeps on taking
the tablets until Martin is released and for Emily the future is uncertain.
At a rehabilitation society event a distorted window image of her smooth
good looks sends her spiralling into more gloom, memory loss and sleep
walking. one night she is over dexterous with a kitchen knife - an act
with catastrophic consequences.
Is what has happened the result of the medication that Dr Banks has had
her on? He has signed on to a financially lucrative but ethically dubious
trial of a new wonder drug that a pharmaceutical company is pushing, the
side effects of which are untested and unproven.
Given the seriousness of the dilemma he finds himself in, Dr Banks enquiries
into past medication from Emily's previous doctor is causing increasing
ripples in more conventional medical circles, as his own well being is
put under mounting stress. Emily's case goes to court and the judge awards
more psychological analysis under strict supervision of Dr Banks in a
secure mental institution. He increasingly smells a rat when Emily receives
a prominent visitor without his consent. His paranoia intensifies when
his wife is sent through the post some scantily clad photographs implying
sexual impropriety. Fighting to save his family life and career he arranges
specific tests on his angel faced charge to determine where exactly the
problem lies, deciding all their fates, once and for all, in this insanely
ratcheted up psychodrama.
Beautifully shot and acted, the claustrophobic mindset makes for a deep
and intriguing examination of the human psyche. It shows the lengths that
people are capable of going to, to achieve their goals, no matter how
perfidious - it's a mad, mad world all right - but go and watch anyway.