Steven Soderbergh is one of those directors that delivers a wide variety of films and seems to really churn them out when he gets on a role with recent films including Magic Mike, Contagion, and the HBO film Behind the Candelabra. As if these weren’t enough his latest theatrical release Side Effects has now hit video shelves and once again sports an impressive cast including Rooney Mara, Channing Tatum, Jude Law, and Catherine Zeta Jones, but does it pack the usual intriguing storytelling and punch his films usually deliver.
Side Effects follow a young woman who despite being reunited with her husband from prison becomes severely depressed leading to suicide attempts and emotional breakdowns. Eventually her psychiatrist prescribes an experimental new medication, but soon she starts experiencing side effects leading to murder. As her doctor becomes obsessed with discovering the truth about what really happens causes his own life to begin to crumble around him, but the truth may be even more shocking than the side effect. This film plays just like you would expect from Soderbergh with and intriguing story and some interesting twists, but sadly moves at a snail’s pace. Somewhere here there is a great movie, but it is so hard to stay interested due to its slow pacing that a lot of what he is trying to do get lost. The performances are all great as is the story, but just a real struggle to stay involved in.
There is such a great movie here with everything it needed to work, but for some reason just comes off more as a bore. Soderbergh has mentioned that he is retiring from directing and thankfully he followed this up with the brilliant Behind the Candelabra as his final film as this one does not do his career justice. It’s worth checking out, just prepare yourself for the pacing and you might end up enjoying it quite a bit more.