I disagree with Peter Bradshaw on this one, it’s not one of Steven Soderbergh’s greatest movies. Side Effects starts out as one type of movie and then does an about turn half way through as it slips into a noir- thriller.
The story starts out about a woman riddled with mental health problems whose husband is released from priosn for insider trading and she becomes medication drug dependent. It explores the moral dilemmas of her psychiatrist, in fact it puts the spotlight on modern day psychiatry and questions the ethics of psychiatrsts’ signing up to drug trials and receiving funds for promoting drugs. For me this was a perfect premise – had me gripped. Actesses, gaunt facial expression like Mia Farrow of Rosemary’s baby and near suicide attempts and the psychiatrsit’s marital tensions of an unemployed wife so pressure to earn more make for a tight story holding enough tension to sustain the film. It then rather clunkily switches into a ‘noir-thriller’ at which point it adversly loses the artisitic thriller devises as it moves into thriller plot mode. As the information comes forward its done rather inconsequentially so looses its pace. I suspect much was left on the cutting floor.
Like Bradshaw I loved the scene with the mirror in the bar. Reminder of Tom of An eerie and chilling device. Zeeta Jones is sultry, hammed up compared to Jude Law’s plaintive.