SYNOPSIS: After her husband (Tatum) is released from prison, Emily (Mara) begins suffering from terrifying anxiety and turns to psychiatrist Dr. Banks (Law) for help. But when Banks prescribes an experimental drug for her, the side effects have chilling and deadly consequences. Full of unexpected twists, Side Effects is the sexy psychological thriller that critics are calling "wildly unpredictable!" (Marlow Stern, Newsweek).


Lazy and formulaic plotting aplenty, it’s hard to find a movie that really surprises you nowadays. You get that same feeling when you popped in Side Effects. It’s going to be one boring, talky indie drama from Steven Soderbergh. Not the Steven Soderbergh who did Ocean’s Eleven but the Steven Soderbergh who did Full Frontal and The Girlfriend Experience.

It turned out I was so wrong. Side Effects is a nice balance between the indie Soderbergh and his commercial entity and it’s definitely addictive.

Written by Soderbergh’s frequent collaborator, screenwriter Scott Z Burns (Contagion and The Informant!), the flick started out as a normal drama about a young couple, Martin (Channing Tatum) and Emily Taylor (Rooney Mara). Martin has just been released after spending four years behind bar presumably because of insider trading. Emily begins to suffer from depression and a failed suicide attempt leads her to visit psychiatrist, Dr. John Banks (Jude Law). Using an experimental drug prescribed by Banks, Emily begins to suffer from side effects and no one expect it to turn deadly when one day Martin is found stabbed to death by Emily during one of her sleepwalking routines.

In the wrong hands, Side Effects could have easily becomes one of the greatest embarrassments in cinematic history, laughable even. Yet Burn’s screenplay effortlessly slides from medical drama to courtroom thriller to sordid affair, offering enough twists and turns to keep the audience guessing the final outcome.

Much liked his other movies, Soderbergh worked as cinematographer and editor on Side Effects as well under different pseudonyms. With him as the production’s beacon, the key cast members turned in excellent, intriguing performances especially the underrated Rooney and Law, many of them have worked with him in the past before. Catherine Zeta-Jones who has been getting plenty of attention-grabbing parts lately plays beautiful Dr Victoria Siebert, a relatively minor role that nevertheless questioned the existence of moral and sexuality of human beings. If she is channelling her husband’s Michael Douglas’ charismatic performances in erotic thrillers such as Basic Instinct and Disclosure then she is on the right track.

Is this a movie about the widespread use of antidepressants drugs? A thriller in the form of Contagion? It’s hard to define a Hitchockian smart title liked this one. The least we know is this man can juggle both independent and commercial titles easily. It’s such a waste to see the versatile Soderbergh opting for an early retirement from the movies given his remarkable magical touch. And of course the ability to surprise us definitely counts.


Probably culled from some TV programs and EPK, Interviews include segments with Cast Channing Tatum, Jude Law, Rooney Mara, Catherine Zeta Jones, writer Scott Z. Burns and Producer Lorenzo Di Bonaventura. Behind The Scenes are mainly 8 minutes of B-roll footages. The DVD also consists of TV Spots and a Trailer.


The visual which are shot digitally offers passable images on this DVD while the Dolby Digital 2.0 presents a subdued soundtrack that consist plenty of clear spoken dialogue.



Review by Linus Tee



Genre: Drama
Channing Tatum, Rooney Mara, Jude Law, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Vinessa Shaw, Mamie Gummer, David Costabile, Greg Paul, Kerry O'Malley
Director: Steven Soderbergh
Rating: M18 (Sexual Scenes)
Year Made: 2013


- Trailer
- TV Spots
- Interviews
- Behind The Scenes


Languages: English
Subtitles: English/Chinese
Aspect Ratio: 16x9 Widescreen
Sound: Dolby Digital 2.0
Running Time: 1 hr 41 mins
Region Code: 3
Distributor: InnoForm Media