A sly one, "Side Effects" is a movie in which the main character's pharmacological state of mind is never entirely certain.
In such a role it's critical to have someone who can keep an audience guessing as to the state of that mind, moment to moment. How dim, how smart, how foggy, how alert is she supposed to be at any given point in the story? With the right actress those questions take you somewhere, even if you're blindfolded.
Wide-eyed, a sphinx who eludes easy understanding, Mara doesn't grab the screen so much as regard it, warily. (She played
"Side Effects" marks the third time Burns and Soderbergh have collaborated as screenwriter and director, following the larky
Roughly a third of "Side Effects" takes place before that bloody incident, and two-thirds of it picks up the serpentine action afterward. At the start, Rooney's Emily cannot find her bearings. Her husband, played by
Nice perk. But is the doctor's diagnosis of Emily's condition accurate? Enough of "Side Effects" qualifies as a thriller, and a mystery, that we'll keep mum regarding its surprises. Catherine Zeta-Jones plays a formidable fellow psychiatrist, familiar with Emily's case and her depression. Burns' plotting gets a little knotty in the third act, but he's a smart writer, who has a knack for juggling an array of characters of varying intelligence and varying corruption levels.
Soderbergh shoots digitally under his usual fake name,
<< RETURN TO MOVIE REVIEWS ...
"Side Effects" Movie Trailer
MPAA rating: R (for sexuality, nudity, violence and language).
Running time: 1:45.
Credits: Directed by
Recent Movie Reviews - Films in Theaters
- 'The Company You Keep'
- 'The Place Beyond the Pines'
- 'Evil Dead'
- 'Jurassic Park 3-D'
- 'The Host'
- 'G.I. Joe: Retaliation'
- 'Gimme the Loot'
- 'The Croods'
- 'Olympus Has Fallen'
- 'Spring Breakers'
- 'On the Road'
- 'The Incredible Burt Wonderstone'
- 'The Call'
- 'Beyond the Hills'
- 'Oz: The Great and Powerful'
- '21 and Over'
- 'Like Someone in Love'
- Argo Wins Top Oscar Prize
- Daniel Day-Lewis Wins 3rd Oscar for 'Lincoln'
- Jennifer Lawrence Makes Up for Forgotten Thank You's during Oscars
- Oscars 2013: Stars Shine at 85th Academy Awards
- 2013 Oscars Winners List
- Anne Hathaway Apologizes for Last-Minute Dress Switch at Oscars
- 'The Gatekeepers'
- Hollywood Prepares for Oscars Night
- 'Amour' Favorite for Best Foreign Film Oscar
- The 2013 Academy Awards by the Numbers
- With Lincoln, Daniel Day-Lewis Ponders 3rd Oscar
- Nominated Movie Scores Feature Sophistication, Cultural Diversity
- Afghan Coming-of-Age Film is Oscar Contender
- 'Life of Pi's Ang Lee Conquers Anti-Asian Bias
- Most Entertaining Documentary May Win The Oscar
- Oscar-Nominated Film Traces Journey of Ailing African Youngsters
- Sci-Tech Oscars Honor Science of Movie-Making
- Palestinians Hope to Tell Their Story Through the Oscars
- History of the Academy Awards and Oscars
- Host Your Own Oscars Party
- Oscars Party Recipes
- Our Favorite Food Movies
- 'Beautiful Creatures'
- 'A Good Day to Die Hard'
- 'Safe Haven'
- 'A Glimpse Inside the Mind of Charles Swan III'
- 'Side Effects'
- 'Identity Thief'
- 'John Dies at the End'
- Nominees and Movie Fans Get Ready for Oscars
- Two Films, Directors Are Top Oscar Contenders
- 'Warm Bodies'
- 'Bullet to the Head'
- 'Stand Up Guys'
- '56 Up'
- 'Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters'
- Broken City
- The Last Stand
- Argo Wins Top Prize at Golden Globe Awards
- 'Lincoln' Leads Oscar Nominations
- Gangster Squad
- Zero Dark Thirty
- Price Check
- Joe Morgenstern's Top Films of 2012
- Promised Land
- Les Miserables
- Django Unchained
- The Guilt Trip
- Jack Reacher
- This is 40
- Cirque du Soleil: Worlds Away
- The Impossible
- The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey
- Hyde Park on Hudson
- Playing for Keeps
- The Central Park Five
- Life of Pi
- Red Dawn
- Rise of The Guardians
- The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part 2
- Anna Karenina
- Silver Linings Playbook
Copyright © 2012 Tribune Media Services, Inc.