By Lynne Martin
A truly provocative medical-thriller doesn’t come along very often, so when SIDE EFFECTS (2013) starring Rooney Mara, Channing Tatum, and Jude Law was finally released, I was truly elated. We all live in society where ‘Big Pharma’ has become the supposed answer to all our problems. From headaches to terminal cancer, we are programmed to ingest the next miracle drug, willing to ignore any SIDE EFFECTS in the hopes of attaining that elusive label of – getting better.
Our hearts instantly go out to a young New York housewife as she struggles to achieve a sense of normalcy after her husband’s release from a state penitentiary. Depressed, fighting to maintain a sense of well being, the wife turns to yet another psychiatrist after her half-hearted suicide attempt lands her in a local hospital. Prescribed the latest and greatest in medication, her side effects prove to be more damaging than anyone could have possibly imagined.
I have the feeling that SIDE EFFECTS might be best served by multiple viewings. An intricate plot, this movie does not appear willing to share all of its secrets in the initial 106 minutes. Labelled as a medical-thriller, this film is actually two separate genres combined into one, as halfway through, the movie morphs into a crime-thriller. Either way, the twists and turns in this plot will keep you on your toes until the very end.
Director Steven Soderbergh, also known for CONTAGION (2011) and TRAFFIC (2000), is quickly becoming one of my favorite directors. Note: Lately it feels like I’m reviewing a Channing Tatum movie at least once a month. R, 106 mins, Crime, Drama, Thriller, **** 4 stars out of 5.
An entire movie headlining ‘The Rock’ and we didn’t see his bare chest or his tribal tattoos even once. Maybe his wrestler/beefcake days are coming to an end and we can expect a little more than his usual fare? SNITCH (2013) starring Dwayne Johnson, Susan Sarandon, and Jon Bernthan is actually based on the true story of James and Joey Settembrino. It’s an accounting of the sacrifices James made to ensure his son’s 5K1 Reduction for a Federal sentence.
Willing to do anything to protect his boy, the estranged father unwillingly sacrifices his family’s safety and even jeopardizes his own life in an attempt to trade the arrest of another drug dealer for his son’s reduced sentence. Wrongly accused of drug distribution, his own boy was potentially looking at 30 years in federal prison, so a deal with the U.S. Attorney to work as an undercover informant in hopes of infiltrating a drug cartel appears to be the only viable option.
Although movies on drug wars have been around for years, this particular installment is a little more interesting after taking the time to read the actual FRONTLINE interview with James and Joey Settembrino. Their disillusionment with Nancy Reagan’s mandatory sentences for first time drug dealers is apparent – what’s surprising is the level of animosity they still harbor towards the DEA, and the office’s alleged abuse of power.
I really enjoyed the 18-wheel action in SNITCH, something a little different than the usual fare of sports cars and aftermarket rebuilds. Although the first hour of the movie can be a little slow paced for an action/thriller, your patience will be rewarded in the second half. Directed by Ric Roman Waugh, Pg-13, 112 mins, Action, Drama, Thriller, *** 3 stars out of 5.
Lynne Martin is an avid movie collector and a staunch supporter of sexual education. She currently resides in Alberta, Canada with her husband and their large extended family. For a complete list of her reviews and other works, or to leave a comment, please go to: www.lynnemartinbooks.com.Tags: Big PharmaChanning TatumDwayne JohnsonJames and Joey SettembrinoJon BernthanJude LawLynne MartinMovie ReviewsNew YorkRic Roman WaughRooney MaraSide EffectsSnitchSteven SoderberghSusan SarandonThe Rock
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