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Side Effects


Stars: Jude Law, Rooney Mara, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Channing Tatum, Vinessa Shaw, Michelle Vergara Moore, Mamie Gummer

Director: Steven Soderbergh

Thriller fans will enjoy the twists and turns of this drama revolving round new drugs and fragile minds. Rooney Mara is the patient consulting a psychiatrist (Zeta-Jones) about her deep depression, while her husband (Tatum) is serving time for insider trading.

When Mara ends up in hospital after driving her car into a wall in an apparent suicide attempt, the attending shrink (Law) puts her on a new medication, Ablixa, and things start to improve, although she is still prone to panic attacks, and side effects include nausea and sleepwalking.

And when, out of the blue, Mara stabs Tatum to death in a frenzied attack, Law suddenly finds his career on the line over his prescribing of Ablixa, even as Mara is found not guilty by reason of insanity, and sectioned.

Law's subsequent investigations lead him down hitherto unsuspected channels, but his wife (Shaw) and stepson leave him as he becomes increasingly isolated and obsessed by the case.

This is an interesting variant on the who-is-doing-what-to-whom theme, with nice pacing by the director and sturdy performances from the entire cast, ensuring that our sympathies jump from one character to another at appropriate moments in the plot.

David Quinlan

USA 2013. UK Distributor: Entertainment One. Colour by FotoKem.
106 minutes. Not widescreen. UK certificate: 15.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 1, Violence/Horror 1, Drugs 1, Swearing 2.

Review date: 03 Mar 2013