Sunday, December 22, 2013

Side Effects - Movie Review

I mistakenly assumed that this would be comedy going by the title. All such notions are dispelled in the first shot itself - a gory murder. The film then goes back into flashback and explains what happens that led to the murder and then moves on to unravel the murder.

Young couple has everything they want until the husband gets arrested for insider trading and does 4 years in jail. Distraught wife starts taking anti-depressant pills. After two or three suicide attempts including driving her car into a wall she is referred to a new psychiatrist to John Banks (Jude Law). Banks checks with her  earlier psychiatrist Dr. Siebert (Catherine Zeta Jones) and she suggests a particular new drug etc. Now this drug is to have side effects that Banks does not know of and it is assumed that under the effects of this drug, prescribed by Dr. Banks without understanding the full ramifications of it, the lady committed a murder while sleep walking. Banks finds his career going into a quick spiral downwards, his personal life shattered and his professional competence questioned. Determined to find out what did not fit in this jigsaw, Banks uncovers some rather startling truths involving pharm companies as well and he needs all his wits around him to get the real culprits behind bars.

It is an interesting premise but it did not hold much water for me. The idea that pharma majors would let their products get shot down by one case without going behind the case in detail is not digestible. That Banks has to do all the firefighting in a case that has ramifications running into millions of dollars is also not sticking. Overall, interesting because it unravels new aspects slowly, bringing into play a lot of suspense. But once you watch it, there are questions left unanswered, or left with no convincing answers. Good performances all round though with Jude Law and Rooney Mara excelling. But why does Dr. Siebert hit Banks on the head? Why was the murder such a messy and convoluted affair with so many possibilities that could have gone wrong? For example the physically stronger husband could have escaped the attack - unless he was asleep when attacked. And so on and so on. But swallow the pill and watch on - it's better than most.

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