'Side Effects' filled with plot twists, suspension

Pitchforks: 4/5

Release: Feb. 8

Rating: R


People’s “Sexiest Man of the Year,” Channing Tatum, and "Magic Mike" director, Steven Soderbergh, have paired up again for an original and captivating mystery involving an anti-depressive drug and its potential side effects.

Rooney Mara plays the protagonist, Emily Taylor and Tatum plays the husband, Martin. Mara effortlessly tackles the roll of Martin’s depressed wife who is constantly relying on prescription medication to overcome her manic depression.

In the process of finding a cure, suicidal Emily seeks help from Dr. Jonathan Banks (Jude Law) as well as Dr. Erica Siebert (Catherine Zeta-Jones). Dr. Banks offers support to Emily, but little does he know that he is being played by both Emily and Siebert in a conniving plot involving greed and scandals.

The film delivers a wide series of twists and turns that had the audience gripping onto the edge of their seat as they watched Mara’s sympathetic character unravel.

The story takes audiences back three months before Martin's jail release, of which we don’t really know the cause. Audiences are then taken into a series of hazy flashbacks and memories that are retold by Emily. Like the setting, the dream-like score submerges the audience in a side effect of its own. Various close-ups on key objects and faces add to the effect. Color provides mystery and a feeling of sedation through the use of grays and dark hues.

Mara’s character is inconsistent and erratic, which adds to the suspense of the film that continues to build throughout. Catherine Zeta-Jones provides for a promising devious character and Law’s character's demise makes the film do a 360, with Dr. Banks becoming the ultimate hero. The plot is very much grounded in real-life circumstances and makes the audience ponder about what truly goes on behind prescription medication ads and studies.

This is definitely a must see, and will keep audiences entertained with plot twists, dramatic performances and some mild comic relief.


Reach the reporter at rosal.lopez@asu.edu


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