Psychological thrillers are most often the more rewarding and provocative features since, as the name says, they explore the limitless and unpredictable particulars of the human psyche.
It is with regard to this primal aspect of all movies of said genre that SIDE EFFECTS, directed by Steven Soderbergh and starring Rooney Mara and Jude Law , for the most part, succeeds. Firstly the movie is decidedly understated on its nature of presenting proceedings to the viewer. Aided by the titillating soundtrack by Thomas Newman, and commendable direction by Soderbergh, it manages to create the tense and dense atmosphere on which it dwells. While this movie does initially seem like a run-of-the-mill observation into the side effects of all the very many drugs that continue to plague society today, it soon turns into a roller coaster ride that deals in twists, turns and deceit.
The pacing of the movie is admittedly a bit slow, but it makes up for it by the constant air of unpredictability that enthuses each scene. The performances of Rooney Mara and Jude Law were good and satisfied the requirements of the script. Channing Tatum and Catherine Zeta Jones play their smaller roles well enough. Point being, there is nothing particularly outstanding about the acting which might be because the movie was more fixated on the story itself.
I wouldn't like to reveal too much of the plot of the movie since I believe those reviews that do so, betray the viewer the feeling of experiencing it for oneself. At the end, there isn't really any message to take from the movie, rather than just having observed the very many facets to human behaviour and character, illustrating that we as a society have a plethora of interesting and troubled people among us. Speaking from a plot point of view, I found the ending weak, since it did raise some questions in my mind with regard to the way the movie wrapped up, which if I ponder over, might have answers, but answers that are at best, honestly unsatisfactory.
And so while I was sufficiently entertained by this unconventional movie, I must give it a 7.3 on 10, having not had anything significant to take away from it. A good movie it surely is, one that indicates the rising star in Rooney Mara and the evergreen in Jude Law, and as a one time watch, into the human mind and the extent to which we will go to secure ourselves, both physically and mentally, this is recommended viewing.