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‘Side Effects’ might be a sign Steven Soderbergh has run out of ideas


Oscar winning director Steven Soderbergh has announced an early retirement from movie-making. He claims his latest film, “Side Effects” will be his last theatrical release.

For the first 30 or 40 minutes or so, “Side Effects” looks like it will do for the pharmaceutical industry what “Contagion” did for the fight against contagious diseases – provide a detailed, insider’s account of how the business does or doesn’t work.

Jude Law plays a psychiatrist who is treating a patient struggling with depression, played by Rooney Mara. She’s having a hard time reconciling with her husband who’s just finished up a four year prison term for insider trading.

Law ends up prescribing a new experimental drug for her – called Ablixia. All goes well at first.

“How have things been going with you?” Law asks.

“I can finally sleep, I have some energy, we finally had sex,” she responds.

Then things take a drastic turn for both psychiatrist and patient – and that goes double for this movie.

This is the kind of movie that you’re better off knowing very little about, so I won’t reveal much more. But I will say that where the movie goes from here is not especially gratifying. It’s oddly lurid and talky – not exactly a winning combination.

When it comes to movies, Soderbergh has the expertise to do just about anything he wants – he often shoots and edits his own stuff. If this is his final release, it’s not a strong finish to a stellar career. At the age of only 50, he says he’s more or less run out of new ideas for filmmaking. “Side Effects” just might be Exhibit A.

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