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Contagion contaminates box office

Bryce Holy

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Contagion is an ingenious thriller that compels viewers to think about how their lives would change in the wake of a deadly pandemic. It falls under the suspenseful mystery movie category with some action and adventure thrown in. Released on Sept. 9, it was the number one box office movie of that weekend.

It was directed by Steven Soderbergh, who is most known for his remake of Ocean’s Eleven. It stars several well known actors, Matt Damon, Kate Winslet, Gywneth Paltrow, Marion Cotillard, Jude Law, and Laurence Fishburne.

The plot follows the spread of a deadly new disease that shows itself when Beth Emhoff, played by Gwyneth Paltrow, falls gravely ill soon after flying home to Minneapolis from Hong Kong where her son, Clark, contracts the disease. She is rushed to the ER two days later where she unfortunately dies. Since she passed the disease on to Clark, he spreads it around his elementary school unknowingly, and the viewer can assume what happens next. This is when the disease, later known as MEV-1, begins to rapidly spread. After being quarantined for several days it is learned that Beth Emhoff’s husband, Mitch Emhoff (Matt Damon) is immune to MEV-1.

Throughout the world, a vaccine is trying to be produced with no luck. Fear spreads even faster than the infection thanks to the help of conspiracy blogger, Alan Krumwiede (Jude Law). Many people begin to panic, kidnapping Center of Disease Control workers, government officials and doctors. They demand vaccines that don’t exist.

In the dictionary, contagion means the communication of disease by direct or indirect contact. Throughout the day, every person is touching doorknobs, cell phones, counter-tops and each other, on top of that, people touch their face three to five times every waking minute. This allows MEV-1 easy access into the body’s interior.

Any inanimate object that can carry and transfer infection is known as a fomite, they are everything that is touched throughout the day. Doorknobs have a higher transmission rate than paper money simply because it is easier for the infection to be transferred to the host. Most pandemics arise from diseases evolving from animal to human infection, through the domestication of animals such as livestock raising.

At the end of this movie, the audience will not only want to have all the hand sanitizer it can get, but will make the viewer think twice about not washing their hands after using the restroom. This movie puts the world of germs and diseases into close perspective and will have the viewer thinking that this is a real world possibility.

The last major pandemic that the world saw was the deadly outbreak of Spanish Flu in 1918 which killed between 50-100 million people. Even using the lower estimate of 50 million people, three percent of the world’s population (1.86 billion at the time) died of the disease. 500 million, or 27 percent, were infected and no one from that time period is alive anymore. Much of the world is ignorant as to the affect pandemics can have.

Contagion is a must see. The acting was phenomenal and helped suspend the feeling of fear, dread and suspense throughout the entirety of the movie. It is definitely worth the money and will shine light on to a generation of the world that has yet to see a major pandemic.


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1 Comment

One Response to “Contagion contaminates box office”

  1. Amy S. Crawford on November 1st, 2011 3:06 pm

    Great review, Bryce! Very well written!


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The School Newspaper of McKinney North High School.
Contagion contaminates box office