Side Effects was a film that I did not want to see. I've seen far too many "politically correct" films attacking, for example, "Big Tobacco" or "Big Fast Food," and they're all the same. They tend to be shallow, linear, and ideologically-driven.
Side Effects was none of those things.
Instead, what I discovered was something completely different which kept me engrossed in the story. While there were some weaknesses in acting or cinematography, these were made up for far and away by the quality of the story itself. Everything is deceptive and nothing is what it seems.
The movie tells the story, initially, of a couple - Emily (Rooney Mara) and Martin (Channing Tatum) - who have fallen upon hard times. Martin, a stock trader, was imprisoned and punished for insider trading. He remains essentially unrepentant, it seems, while Emily continues to visit him dutifully in jail. We begin with his release from his minimum security prison.
What follows is not as it should. Emily experiences an inexplicable depression and crisis when Martin moves back into the home, so that she begins seeing a psychiatrist, Banks (Jude Law), who proscribes a series of psychotropic medications for her depression. It turns out that one of the drugs he proscribes, Ablixa, is one he is being paid to administer as part of a clinical trial. Emily soon finds herself in a whirlwind of medications and treatments, none of which seem to work as they should. It all leads to a horrific and inexorable conclusion that you can see a mile away.
But what follows all of that is what is important, making the movie what it is, and there I dare not to venture.
My Rating: 8.0 out of 10