June 7, 2013
Emily Taylor (Rooney Mara) is very depressed woman. After a suicide attempt, she meets psychiatrist Dr. Jonathan Banks (Jude Law). He sincerely tries to help her out of her depression with pills. Emily commits a big crime, seemingly a side effect of her latest anti- depressant pill. The tables are turned and Dr. Banks is now the bad guy, having been the one who prescribed the pill. Can the good doctor still clear his name and get his once good life back?
Rooney Mara plays Emily believably as a fragile woman teetering on the brink of sanity. Channing Tatum plays her supportive husband Martin, who was just released from prison. Jude Law goes from confident albeit over-worked doctor to a damaged man obsessed with getting out of the sticky situation he has been framed in. Catherine Zeta-Jones plays Dr. Victoria Siebert, Emily's former psychiatrist with whom Dr. Banks collaborates. The moral ambiguity of all these characters were all captured effectively by these actors.
Director Steven Soderbergh and writer Scott Z. Burns come up with a taut, complex psychological thriller with "Side Effects". You never know what you are going get next up to the last scenes. Medical doctors, in particular, will be intrigued with the possible legal implications of the medicines they prescribe to their patients. The ending though seems flawed, with some ethical questions, in the legal, as well as medical, standpoints. But I don't think it really mars the entire impact of the film as a whole as an effective conundrum. This film will keep you thinking up to the end. 7/10.