In short: it’s about the breakout of a new and fatal disease in a contemporary setting, and the struggle of the authorities to stop the spread, find the cure and save humanity.
Good Stuff: the story moves along at a good pace and does not drag. There are many interested parties and viewpoints, so its involving and quite engrossing, especially the hunt for the source. And there are one or two subtle (and not so subtle) undercurrents, For example, Jude Law’s pretty solid performance as the internet anti-authority figure, is loaded with nuggets. Also, while the film shows a society (really just the USA) under strain and, at times, cracking, there’s no dwelling on it, and there isn’t a ton of over the top and unnecessary, vicariously violent entertainment. Laurence Fishburne is terrific; just right for the role and the atmosphere the film is trying to deliver.
The Not So Good Stuff:Matt Damon delivers a workmanlike performance; probably the best that could be done with the role as scripted. Elliot Gould: why? Perhaps just to deliver this (admittedly excellent) line: “Blogging is not writing. It’s just graffiti with punctuation.” Also, it felt that there were some inconsistencies in the portrayal of the breakdown of society, or at least a part of it. For example, everyone’s IPhone kept working. Handy that.
Query: Contagion or Andromeda Strain?