The first half of Side Effects, director Steven Soderbergh’s alleged feature-film swan song, is excellent. Unfortunately, the second half is merely passable.
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 pharmaceutical industry, and it hums along nicely for a good chunk its running time.
Then, it suddenly becomes mediocre, as the mysteries start getting solved.
Good things happen before it unravels, with Mara doing some nice work alongside Channing Tatum and Catherine Zeta-Jones. Unfortunately, there’s a subplot with Zeta-Jones that stops the movie in its tracks whenever it’s playing out.
Soderbergh says this is it for him and feature films. (His excellent made-for-TV Liberace biopic, Behind the Candelabra, is currently running on HBO, and he’s calling that his last film of any kind, period.) Hopefully, he just takes a couple of years off and finds himself back behind the camera someday. This movie is OK, but I would like to see him go out on a better note.
Special Features: You only get some fake commercials and a very short look behind-the-scenes.