Coughing, sweating, dazed individuals in various cities around the globe prepare audiences of “Contagion” for the full scope of what is to come. The first of these is an only slightly ill Beth (Gwyneth Paltrow), the wife of Mitch Emhoff (Matt Damon).
Beth arrives home and settles back in with her family after a trip to China. On what starts out as an ordinary day, she is stricken with deadly symptoms. Suddenly a widow, it is only the beginning of Mitch’s personal encounters with an unknown virus from equally unknown origins.
Mitch sees Dr. Erin Mears (Kate Winslet) to determine whether or not he has contracted the virus. Mears comes up against some red tape when it comes to handling an outbreak, both with treatment centers and their funding. In the process, she also falls ill and reports her symptoms to colleague Dr. Ellis Cheever (Laurence Fishburne).
The film leaves a question as to how Dr. Mears came into contact with the virus. The uncertainty of where she contracts it adds to the mystery of where such real-world concerns originate.
People everywhere are touching all kinds of objects, as well as each other, on a daily basis; nobody knows who came into contact with what, and an invisible killer spreads. With little information about the virus, it becomes all the more dire to create a vaccine that will work. The length of time it will take to go through all the steps, from vaccine discovery and testing to FDA approval and mainstream availability, is of great concern.
Freelance blogger Alan Krumwiede (Jude Law) experiments with one solution, posting his findings and alerting the public through social media. Krumwiede’s work regarding the global-scale virus gains him a far and wide-reaching audience.
Referencing present-day communication technology and real-life pandemics (SARS, Swine Flu), “Contagion” hits hard with what can happen. An overall intelligent film, it shows how quickly and silently biological viruses spread.
However, it is not just the storyline that is top-notch. According to IMDB, all six headlining cast members have either been nominated for or won an Oscar. Such a line-up of great dramatic talent only strengthened the story directed by Steven Soderbergh, also owner of an Academy Award (IMDB).