Steven Soderbergh’s 'Contagion': What the Critics Are Saying

Warner Bros.

Critics commented on the scary believability of the disease thriller that screened at the Venice Film Festival.

Steven Soderbergh’s disease thriller had more than one critic commenting on the believability of the film, which chronicles the worldwide spread of a deadly virus. The stellar cast includes Marion Cotillard, Matt Damon, Laurence Fishburne, Jude Law, Gwyneth Paltrow and Kate Winslet.


While Contagion does not open in theaters until Friday, September 9, it had its premiere at the Venice Film Festival on Saturday. Overall, critics were favorable in their early reviews, crediting Soderbergh for creating a film that seemed to realistically portray what the world would look like if a pandemic did hit.

“Implicitly, Contagion poses a rhetorical about how you split the difference between making an intelligent, scientifically plausible film about something as alarming as a worldwide plague and creating a mass-audience entertainment sufficiently titillating in its catastrophic consequences to entice a huge public,” writes The Hollywood Reporter’s Todd McCarthy. “Unsurprisingly, Soderbergh has tilted closer to the former but is familiar enough with the latter to quicken the collective pulse a bit.”

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“The fine cast, likely solid critical reaction and undeniable topicality position this as a robust B.O. performer for the early fall season,” he writes.

Contagion felt more like a superior studio thriller than a festival awards contender,” writes The Telegraph’s David Gritten.

“The film sometimes feels like a series of public health warnings,” he writes, calling the film “alarmingly believable.”

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“With Soderbergh shooting and editing his own films, Contagion is well-assembled and propulsive, though like the virus it loses momentum,” writes The Gaurdian’s Jason Solomons.

“This is a straight-up movie, serious but, crucially, also slightly silly in the knowing Soderbergh style, always aware that it's a disaster movie, and not a documentary,” he continues.

He also praises Soderbergh for his “flair for juggling and sustaining multiple storylines in one film.”