Trailer Tuesday: Contagion

We love a good zombie movie. Whether it's the old school shuffling undead or their hyped up, ultra-fast "Rage" descendants, zombie movies (and TV shows of course) are a fun way to explore our feelings about civilisation-ending cataclysm. How would Mankind respond to an unstoppable, highly contagious and deadly infection? Would morals and community collapse in the face of panic and the development of an unmoderated "every man for himself" mindset? Would the survivors become just as dehumanised as the diseased?

Now, strip zombies out of the scenario - lose the allegorical filter, in other words - and drop in a realistic airborne virus like SARS, Pig or Bird Flu. Suddenly the thrills are a lot less "safe." Suddenly everything is a lot more chilling because it's closer to home. And that's exactly what medical thriller Contagion offers viewers.

Contagion, much like a long incubating cold, is a movie that has crept up on many of us - distracted as we are by the glut of high profile sequels and superhero flicks on the horizon. I'm expecting this movie to become a major talking point though when it releases, and I must say that after watching the trailer it looks bloody good! Here's hoping it doesn't pull a convenient cure out of mid air for a happy ending, given that the set-up looks so credibly sombre.

Contagion comes from acclaimed, Academy Award-winning director Steven (Traffic, Ocean's Eleven) Soderbergh, a director who is a magnet for all-star casts, and who can veer with ease between uncompromising "indie" projects and entertaining crowd-pleasers. Here's hoping Contagion is positioned somewhere inbetween, with a leaning to the former category.

With a refreshing global scope - think of the film as the Traffic of plague movies, with multiple interlocking storylines - Contagion features a fantastic international cast, including Marion Cotillard, Matt Damon, Laurence Fishburne, Jude Law, Gwyneth Paltrow (whoops, well we know what happens to her character) and Kate Winslet. The stars play an assortment of baffled but driven scientists, terrified ordinary people as well as bloggers and conspiracy theorists spreading panic as dangerous as the disease itself. And if you hang out on social media sites during disasters, outbreaks and shortage-causing strikes, you'll know how easily misinformation and hysteria breeds in those "comment now, think later" environments.

Anyway, Contagion releases in the United States on 9 September. A release date has yet to be announced for South Africa, but I'm really hoping it will be before the end of the year.


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