‘Side Effects’ film a hit or miss?

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By Kayla Eichner, Contributor

“There always are side effects,” says Emily Taylor in Steven Soderbergh’s new movie “Side Effects,” which definitely leaves you feeling lost as the credits roll.
“Side Effects” will leave you in a state of conflict.  The film stars Rooney Mara, Channing Tatum, Jude Law and Catherine Zeta-Jones in unexpected, risky roles.  Sodenbergh attempts to capture the controversy facing mental illness in the eyes of the court.
The film begins as a story of how a couple copes with reintegrating into society after the husband has been in prison for a few years.  Martin Taylor (Tatum) is an ex-con recently released from prison and trying to put his life back together, with his wife, Emily (Mara).
Shortly after Martin’s return, Emily spirals down the dark hole of depression and is referred to a psychiatrist Dr. Jonathan Banks (Law).  Emily’s symptoms continue and become more severe until the film turns into something completely unexpected.
The acting in “Side Effects” is brilliant.  Law and Zeta-Jones capture their characters with excellence.  It’s nice to see the two take on more serious and controversial roles.  The acting is what makes the film.
On the other hand, the storyline is hard to follow.  There seems to be more plots in the movie than characters, which makes the film feel like it takes hours to pick up and come together.  It takes awhile to see what’s going on and where the film is going.  This makes the 106 minute movie feel like three hours and is a major downfall.
“Side Effects” has critics up in the air and giving ratings at all ends of the spectrum.
Scott Bowles from USA Today said, “The movie descends into a TV-grade police procedural, with twists so sharp and a plot so convoluted you may need meds to clear your head.”
On the opposite end, Tom Long from Detroit News said,  “In some ways, the film is more traditional than you think it will be, becoming a psychological puzzle piece.  But Soderbergh lays the puzzle out so neatly, you can’t help but be engrossed.”
Though the film is very slow moving, it does keep you wondering what could happen next.  “Side Effects” keeps the twists coming and leaves you questioning the motives and ethics of your doctor.
I would not recommend spending money on this film in theaters, but to wait until it comes out in cheaper forms.  Or wait for a day when you need your mind blown to the point where you’re thinking, “What did I just watch?”
 

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