Blu-ray Review: Steven Soderbergh’s Brilliant Thriller ‘Side Effects’

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CHICAGO – Over a hundred films in and Steven Soderbergh’s “Side Effects” is still one of my favorite flicks of 2013. In fact, I’d say it’s the first great movie of the year released on Blu-ray and DVD. It underperformed at the box office but the star power on its cover is likely to make it a hit on the home market. Renters or buyers will be pleasantly surprised by a rewarding thriller from one our best working filmmakers. Blu-ray rating: 4.0/5.0
Rating: 4.0/5.0

Well, maybe we can’t call him that any more. Steven Soderbergh has said that “Side Effects” will be his last theatrical film (and HBO’s “Behind the Candelabra” his last film, period). While I find it hard to believe that someone this talented is simply going to put his camera away (and stories about Soderbergh producing and directing an upcoming TV series make the “retirement” feel even less likely), “Side Effects” would be a fitting finale for the auteur. It contains themes common to so much his work from the paranoia of “Contagion” to the intimacy of “Sex, Lies, and Videotape” to the way he played with genre in films like “The Underneath” and “Out of Sight.” “Side Effects” plays games with its audience, starting off as one film, switching gears once to become something else, and then ending as something even more unexpected. With precision camera work and editing of another mesmerizing performance from Rooney Mara and Jude Law’s best work in years, “Side Effects” is the first 2013 Blu-ray that you really need to see.

However, Universal has treated the film shabbily, offering no commentary tracks and little in the way of special features. The transfer is typically strong (as all new release Universal transfers are) but this feels like a rush job of a Blu-ray. Time will be kind to this movie and maybe it will be reappraised after Soderbergh’s career truly is over. Hopefully after he directs a couple dozen more movies.

Side Effects was released on Blu-ray and DVD on May 21, 2013
Side Effects was released on Blu-ray and DVD on May 21, 2013
Photo credit: Universal

From Academy Award-winning director Steven Soderbergh (Traffic) comes this suspenseful and provocative tale of intrigue starring Channing Tatum, Academy Award nominees Rooney Mara and Jude Law, and Academy Award winner Catherine Zeta-Jones. After her husband (Tatum) is released from prison, Emily (Mara) begins suffering from terrifying anxiety and turns to psychiatrist Dr. Banks (Law) for help. But when Banks prescribes an experimental drug for her, the side effects have chilling and deadly consequences. Full of unexpected twists, Side Effects is the sexy psychological thriller that critics are calling “wildly unpredictable!” (Marlow Stern, Newsweek)

Special Features:
o Behind The Scenes Of Side Effects
o Ablixa Website Experience
o Ablixa Commercial
o Intenin Commercial
o Digital Copy Included

“Side Effects” stars Jude Law, Rooney Mara, Catherine Zeta-Jones, and Channing Tatum. It was written by Scott Z. Burns and directed by Steven Soderbergh. It was released on Blu-ray on May 21, 2013. content director Brian Tallerico

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