Side Effects (2013)

Posted: May 10, 2013 in Joe Giambrone
Tags: , , , , , , , ,
Sorta mediocre

I guess I’m rightfully annoyed at this one as it promised two different sorts of things, but delivered something different entirely.  At the risk of giving away the big twist, the genre flipping is the central problem with this movie.

Unfortunately Rooney Mara starts off giving a very identifiable performance as a mentally disturbed woman in need of help.  She then meets up with Jude Law, who wants sincerely to help her, but the tools in his toolbox are of course the anti-depressant drugs given away thorughout the society like candy.  I was very on-board this first half of the film, and I genuinely believed they were going somewhere.


But where they were going was to screenwriting the noir murder mystery 101.  This is one of those everything you already saw was a sham, a ruse movies, a betrayal of the audience and the emotion they invested in these characters.  That magnitude of betrayal is hard to forgive, and this film doesn’t warrant it.

Certainly not when the Jude Law character himself is so ethically challenged.  While starting off with good intentions, he swiftly becomes as untrustworthy and abusive as the others, once he learns of their plans.  This is yet another “hero” who gets to play by his own rules and bend everything to his own advantage, and we’re supposed to accept that passively.  Though not as egregious or sinister as the “hero who tortures,” Jude Law’s character is similarly dirty in his own way.

The first half of Side Effects and the second seem like two different films.  Even the dialogue suffers at the end, with a pathetic lesbian scene obviously written by a voyeuristic male.

The other movie seemingly promised in the trailer is more mind bending and trippy, like something deeper might be happening here.  It isn’t.  I call bait and switch.

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