Blu-Ray Review: Steven Soderbergh’s SIDE EFFECTS

This is your insanity on drugs.


SIDE EFFECTS is Director Steven Soderbergh‘s Hitchockian thriller is a hypnotic draw into the complicated lives of it’s main characters. What start’s out as flawless cinema quickly dissolves about a half-way through the film. Though intriguing, Soderbergh’s pharmaceutically derived murder mystery leads into an unsatisfactory denouement that was just as over prescribed as the film’s main protagonist.

However, before the third act unravels the film is intensely satisfying and perhaps raises important questions into how the methods for mood-altering medications prescribed to troubled patients. For example, Emily’s (Rooney Mara) husband Martin Taylor (Channing Tatum) released from prison after serving four years for insider trading. Immediately thereafter, Emily begin demonstrating depressive moods and suicidal tendencies–she crashes her car into a cement wall of an underground garage. While being treated at a local hospital, she is introduced to her SSRI prescribing psychiatrist Dr. Jonathan Banks (Jude Law).

After noting side effects of the prescribed medication, Dr. Banks suggests placing Emily on a different SSRI. However, Emily heard of a new drug “Ablixia,” and wanted to try it. The medication worked really well in the beginning. Emily was able to return to work and her sex drive returned. Then the drug’s side effects began to take hold. During which, unbeknownst to her conscious self, commits an act of violence. Now imprisoned, the pharmaceutical company, Dr. Banks and the courts have to decide whether or not she is truly to blame for the crime–or the medication made her do it. The acting performances in the film are what makes for a fantastic cinematic engagement. The film overall is a precise, intense and evocative cerebral thriller.

The video and cinematic aspects of the Blu-Ray™ are cast in greens, yellow and gold overtones–piercing grays and whites in a magnificent 1080p/AVC-encoded (1.85.1 widescreen presentation) transfer. The film is deeply contrasted and successive in clarity throughout every scene. There isn’t an over-saturation of colors nor flesh tones–though during the more “yellowing” scenes blend in with the wardrobe the characters are wearing. Also, there isn’t any notable shadowing in the scenes the shots are clearly defined. Side Effects makes an impressive Blu-Ray™ presentation. The English DTS-HD Master Audio (5.1) (English SDH, French and Spanish) surround track is impeccable. The dialogue is clear, concise and intelligible.

Side Effects still intrigues despite a few of the puzzle pieces not coming together. Soderbergh’s last cinematic feature is a safe buy for feature collectors.

Highly recommended. 

Side Effects Blu-Ray™ bonus features include:

•  Behind the scenes of Side Effects
•  The Ablixa Website experience
•  The Ablixa commercial
•  The Intenin Commercial
•  Includes DVD and Digital Copy of Side Effects.
•  Includes ULTRAVIOLET iTunes and digital compatible download code.
Artwork and supplementary materials courtesy of © 2013 Universal Pictures Studios/Open Road Films ‘Side Effects.’ All rights reserved.

  • Editor Rating

  • Rated 4 stars
  • Excellent

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  • Last modified: 2013-05-22

Review Summary:

A young woman's world unravels when a drug prescribed by her psychiatrist has unexpected side effects.

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