Saturday, March 16, 2013


Rated:  R

Stars: Rooney Mara,  Jude Law,  Catherine Zeta-Jones,  Channing Tatum
Director: Steven Soderbergh
Genre: Psychological Thriller

Not since we all bought into the idea that Lois Lane couldn't figure out that Clark Kent and Superman were the same dude--just because Clark wore glasses and Superman didn't-- has our willing suspension of disbelief  been stretched to the point of  losing its elasticity like a five year-old pair of  boxer shorts.  But besides the highly implausible and convoluted plot,  it's a pretty  engrossing  yarn of deception and intrigue that's being spun in Side Effects.

Rooney Mara is Emily Taylor, an unstable woman who deliberately crashes her car inside a parking garage and ends up taking anti-depressants under the care of  shrink Jonathan Banks (Jude Law).  One of the side-effects of the drug she is taking is sleepwalking, and in one of those episodes she stabs her husband,(Channing Tatum) to death.  Which was adding insult to injury because he just got out of the pokey after doing a four year stint for insider trading, and now look... he's dead.  (Damn, didn't you read the label on this stuff?  It says quite clearly that it may cause drowsiness, headache, AND A SUDDEN AND  OVERWHELMING DESIRE TO MURDER YOUR SPOUSE!) 

Emily goes on trial, pleads insanity, and is confined to a mental institution. In a sense, this is where Side Effects begins, as the roller coaster plot unfolds from here. And much like The Sixth Sense, nothing is what it appears to be. 

Catherine Zeta-Jones has a very interesting turn as Emily's former therapist, complete with lesbo scenes. She's  one of the last I would expect to go that route, but you know,  DAHLING,  no one can be considered a serious actress TODAY  without it on your resume.

Side Effects will have you shaking your head due to its sheer bravado in asking you  to say, " could happen."  And while you can figure out who's the good guy and who's the bad guy in most films,  there is no one here who turns out lily white at the end. 

Grade:  B +