Soderbergh “Retires” in Style with “Side Effects”
Nobody really retires in the entertainment industry. Jay-Z has made more music since he “hung up the mic” than he did before. Now, Oscar winning director Steven Soderbergh seems to have caught the retirement bug, announcing that “Side Effects” will be his last film.
Rooney Mara is outstanding as Emily, a depressed wife whose husband (Channing Tatum) has just been released from prison after serving a sentence for insider trading. She tries to put on a happy face, but her depression is dragging her further and further into the abyss. A failed suicide attempt leads her to Dr. Jonathan Banks (Jude Law), who prescribes a new anti-depressant for her. Things seem to get better, until tragedy strikes. To divulge any more of the plot would ruin what makes “Side Effects” so enjoyable.
Soderbergh is one of the few directors who’s been able to infuse every film he’s made, from studio fare like the “Ocean’s” trilogy to indie films like “The Limey” with his own unique style. Watch any of his films for five minutes and its obvious you’re watching a Steven Soderbergh film. The man has a unique gift of making almost any genre, from disaster (“Contagion”) to action (“Haywire”), mesh with his style. “Side Effects” is no different.
It’s hard not to smile at some of the surprises tucked away in “Side Effects,” which starts out as the psychological breakdown of a woman then morphs into something entirely different and undeniably enjoyable. For a man whose dealt with criminals and con artists most of his career, Soderbergh has finally pulled off a con of his own; making the audience think they’re seeing one movie, when in actuality its another movie all together.
Soderbergh’s trademark style may almost be considered old hat at this stage of his career, but “Side Effects” proves he’s still got a few tricks up his sleeve. Hopefully his “retirement” won’t last very long and the world can once again get back to enjoying his films.