Ever since director Steven Soderbergh gave up shooting his movies on film they have not been as good. He now shoots digitally on a camera called the Red. I do not know for sure that we can blame his change in shooting format for the cold uniformity that his movies now seem to possess. It is just my opinion, but his best work remains in 35mm: “Out of Sight” (1998) and “The Limey” (1999).
Soderbergh’s new film, “Side Effects” is not bad, compared to his recent output. In many respects it is a neat little thriller about a psychiatrist, played by Jude Law, who is in a heap of trouble over medication that he gave to his patient, played by Rooney Mara.
Here is the problem. A movie like “Side Effects” can have what is called a “second read.” Here is the way it works…or should work. On second viewing an audience member will have superior knowledge due to the fact that he, or she, now knows how things are going to turn out. A twisty thriller, in which all may not be what it first appears, requires that scenes be played so that they will work for a first time viewer as well as a second time viewer. The latter will have superior knowledge of the film. In other words the director cannot cheat. Some good examples of “second read” movies include “The Usual Suspects” (1995), “The Sixth Sense” (1999) and “Fight Club” (1999). While I will not give away any of the twists in “Side Effects,” I should point out that there are moments which will not hold up in a second viewing. The problem usually occurs when we see a character who is putting on a act, that will not be revealed until later, alone. Since the character is all by his or her self, he or she can let down their guard. If the character does not let down their guard then this may be fine for a first time viewing but will not hold up in a second viewing. In other words why continue the act if no one is around?
Posted on March 4, 2013, in Uncategorized and tagged Fight Club, Jude Law, Out of Sight, Red, Rooney Mara, Side Effects, Steven Soderbergh, The Limey, The Sixth Sense, The Usual Suspects. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.