Film review: Steven Soderbergh's Side Effects
SIDE EFFECTS (15)
Steven Soderbergh directs Jude Law in assured style with a lean psychological thriller about our reliance on prescription medication to smooth every emotional wrinkle.
Side Effects nods and winks with ghoulish glee to the sleights of hand of Hitchcock, engineering a series of surprises to keep us on the edge of our seats.
The beleaguered heroine at the centre of Soderbergh's film is mousey office worker Emily Taylor (Rooney Mara, pictured).
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She is crippled with anxiety, and top psychiatrist Jonathan Banks (Jude Law) prescribes a new medication called Ablixa to calm Emily's nerves – which leads to an act of unimaginable violence.
Jonathan feels the most heat, for supplying the pills, and his wife and business partners abandon him in his hour of need.
Faced with the prospect of losing his medical licence, the psychiatrist investigates Ablixa, aided by Emily's former shrink, Dr Victoria Siebert (Catherine Zeta-Jones).
Side Effects is built on a rock-solid script, which repeatedly pulls the rug from under us.
Law plays his role as a pawn in a deadly game with restraint, while Mara delivers another mesmerising performance.