Contagion

Soderbergh's CONTAGION: a no-thrills thriller

Soderbergh's CONTAGION: a no-thrills thriller

I saw CONTAGION last weekend and by God it’s the first thriller I’ve ever seen where a lingering shot of a coffee cup (or martini glass, or door handle) recently fondled by the recently infected is one of the scariest shots. A coffee cup! And it actually is scary. The camera holds just long enough to make the object – and the unseen germs just deposited there – terrifying. I’m not talking about a gasp-out-loud- sort of terrifying, but a sick to the stomach, this-could-surely-happen-to-me sort of terrifying.

Friends on Facebook have cried “Blah!” as in, “It’s boring!” Well, maybe. Moments, I admit, feel slow. But isn’t that refreshing for a thriller? Nobody but Soderbergh could impose a new pace on a well-worn genre, and nobody could rally such high power stars to, one by one, froth at the mouth. They die so well.

CONTAGION billboard grown from bacteria

CONTAGION billboard grown from bacteria

You’ve heard of viral campaigns, but you probably haven’t encountered bacterial marketing – or, more specifically, a billboard crawling with live bacteria cultures. But that’s exactly what marketers from Warner Bros. Canada put together last week: not one, but two enormous, mounted petri dishes inoculated with cultures of penicillin, mold and pigmented bacteria. Over the course of the week, the cultures eventually grew to spell out CONTAGION, the title of the star-studded flick (Matt Damon, Gwyneth Paltrow, Marion Cotillard, Kate Winslet, Jude Law) that hit theatres last week.