With a day off at my disposal, I decided on a whim to use my Unlimited Card and nip along to the cinema to see Side Effects, a film I hadn’t even heard of until I checked the listings this morning.
I’m glad I did.
Side Effects Review: What’s This Film About
“A young woman’s world unravels when a drug prescribed by her psychiatrist has unexpected side effects”
Well, that’s what the synopsis says. The truth is, this film is about so much more.
Side Effects Review: How Highly Is It Rated?
Right now, imdb.com rates Side Effects at 7.4/10 from just under 10,000 votes, while Rotten Tomatoes gives it an approval rating of 85%
Side Effects Review: Who’s In It?
It stars Jude “James McFadden’s More Handsome Brother” Law, Catherine “I Got Old All Of A Sudden” Zeta-Jones, Rooney “Looks Considerably Older Than Her Older Sister” Mara and Channing Tatum, who for some reason I always thought was an actress.
Thoughts – I Can’t Spoil This
Here’s the thing; based on then synopsis alone, I expected this film to be something it wasn’t.
At the start at least I thought it was a story of depression and how a woman (Mara) was struggling to get better in the rather crazy world of the American Healthcare System.
And I was enjoying it.
But then there came a twist, and that twist was followed by another twist and then the film went off into a completely different direction.
Not quite a Psycho level change of direction, but one that seriously impacts my ability to go into great detail about the plot.
If this was 1960 and I started to talk about Norman Bates’s Motel and all the stuff that went down there in a review of Psycho, it wouldn’t be fair. Similarly, if I wrote a review of the Sixth Sense before you’d all had a chance to see it and discussed how Bruce Willis’s character was dead all along, you’d be pissed. Hey, I can talk about it now because of the Statute of Limitations on Spoilers, but I can’t talk about the twists in Side Effects.
But they are good; very good.
What I can say about this film – a film that is both well acted and directed – is that is reminds me of a Hitchcock effort. It’s a thriller with a healthy dose of suspense.
Jude Law in particular is excellent, and I think it would be fair to say that his performance is reminiscent of James Stewart in his prime. You could imagine Stewart in this part in a film made back in the 50s.
And that’s another good thing about Side Effects; it has an enduring plot. You look at some old films and realise that advancement in technology or social change means that they couldn’t be made like that today (unless they were made as period pieces) and the same applies in reverse. A good script rises above that; Side Effects rises above that.
So let me keep this brief for you.
I enjoyed Side Effects immensely. I was finding the film interesting to start off with, but when the twists and turns started to happen I invested in it far more.
For the first time in a long time, I went to see a film and didn’t feel the need to check the time once.
Because of the nature it, where enjoyment is linked to surprise, I don’t think I would rush to see it again any time soon, but I don’t think that should count against it.
This is without doubt the best film I’ve seen in 2013, and is easily better than Arg0, the best film I saw in 2012.
Side Effects Review: Should You Go To See Side Effects?
I’d give it a strong thumbs up.
A top, top film with a brilliant story.
It’s a Hitchcock Movie in 2013.