Rooney Mara and Channing Tatum in Side Effects.

The first half of director Steven Soderbergh’s alleged feature-film swan song is excellent, while the second half is only passably good.

Jude Law stars as a doctor treating a depressed patient (Rooney Mara) who is given an experimental drug with some nasty results. The film is at once a mystery and an indictment of the worldwide pharmaceutical industry, and it hums along nicely for a good chunk of the running time.

Then it suddenly becomes a mediocre Brian De Palma-style movie as the mysteries are solved; it gets a little hokey. Good things happen before it unravels, though, with Mara doing some nice work alongside Channing Tatum and Catherine Zeta-Jones.

Soderbergh says this is it for him. Hopefully, he just takes a couple of years off and finds himself back behind the camera. This movie is OK, but I would like to see him go out on a better note.

Side Effects is playing in theaters across the valley.