Side Effects

THRILLER; 1hr 46min

STARRING: Rooney Mara, Channing Tatum, Jude Law, Catherine Zeta-Jones

Mad about you: Mara and Tatum

What are the boundaries of depressive conduct? With 28-year-old Emily Taylor (Mara), whose husband Martin (Tatum) has just served four years for insider trading, that’s an open-ended question. Emily seems as panicked and fragile as a trapped bird. After she slams her car into a brick wall, empathic psychiatrist John Banks (Law) prescribes a spanking new antidepressant. Recommended to Banks by Emily’s cool-cat previous therapist (Zeta-Jones), Ablixir unlocks Emily from herself. But its catastrophic side effects leave her and Banks in deep legal and ethical trouble while raising the second, equally curly question of accountability. Emily is hospitalised and Banks’s reputation and marriage are effectively trashed, but the dogged doctor, his intuitive hackles bristling, refuses to let the matter rest.


Clumsier hands could pulp this up but director Steven Soderbergh is too practised an operator for that: on his watch and with an ideal cast, Scott Z. Burns’s screenplay is a mesmeric Pandora’s box whose deceptive contents keep slipping through your fingers, especially at the stages when you think you have them licked.