Movie review: ‘Side Effects'

Oklahoman Modified: February 8, 2013 at 6:23 am •  Published: February 8, 2013

Once he's released, though, Emily isn't nearly as happy as one would her expect her to be, and she actually falls into a deep and suicidal depression.

When she goes to see psychiatrist Jonathan Banks (Jude Law), he prescribes her a new drug called Ablixa, which he's testing out on a few patients as part of a lucrative deal with a pharmaceutical giant. Emily's former therapist in Connecticut (Catherine Zeta-Jones, sly and stylish as always), whom Banks seeks out for guidance, also happens to be a big proponent of this drug. Both are, in theory, in the business of helping people but they're also opportunists to varying degrees of sleaziness.

But then this magical pill starts showing some disturbing side effects and … well that's really all we can say. The aforementioned really terrible and bloody thing occurs, which ruins careers and lives and drives people to madness. Or does it …? No really, we gotta stop now.

The complexity of emotion, confusion and loss at the film's start gives way to some acrobatic trickery by the end, but “Side Effects” is never less than gripping or entertaining. Mara, who showed such fierce intelligence in David Fincher's “The Social Network” and “The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo,” is quietly chilling here. With her waiflike frame, chiseled facial features and steely eyes that reveal nothing, she's like a mysterious child's doll come to life.

Here's hoping this isn't a true retirement for Soderbergh — and more like one of those Jay-Z or Michael Jordan retirements — at least so he can add Mara to his band of A-list regulars.

— Christy Lemire, Associated Press