As the east coast braces for Hurricane Irene (our thoughts are with you folks) there is an eerie similarity between the mobilization of the authorities along the seaboard as the storm nears and what unfolds in this generous helping of 10 clips from Steven Soderbergh‘s “Contagion.”
Taking a fact-based approach, the heavily researched script from Scott Z. Burns weaves the tale of what happens as a viral pandemic spreads around the world. “Scott and I were fascinated by the science,” Soderbergh recently told the New York Times. “I don’t know how you could make a film about a subject like this without wanting it to be accurate.”
And that quest for realism extended to the film’s cast with Jennifer Ehle and Kate Winslet — whose characters do lab work in the film — taking a two-day crash course in how to use a microscope, grow bacterial cultures and extract genetic material from samples. And while those scenes were shot in a converted factory, Soderbergh ensured the environment wound sound real in the movie, separately recording “the hum of centrifuges and incubators, freezer doors opening and dry ice evaporating, animal cages rattling and squeaking as they are moved.”
But this effort to get it right would be nothing if the film didn’t entertain first, and in order to ensure the thriller keeps moving, Soderbergh wound up ditching an hour’s worth of edited material (not necessarily additional scenes) to keep the movie at a lean 100 minutes. Thankfully, these peeks at the film don’t seem to be giving too much away and instead are a good overview of the various roles each of the ensemble cast members have. Particularly memorable thus far is Jude Law as a paranoid blogger (and his rallying cry that he’s just as much of a journalist as anyone else should warm certain corners of the Internet) and what happens in what seems to be the later stages of infection as looting begins to take place. And oh yeah, there’s CNN talking head Dr. Sanjay Gupta in a cameo role.
“Contagion” will premiere in Venice and hit theaters on September 9th.