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September 9, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

Critics can’t seem to resist a pun or two when reviewing Contagion, despite their generally positive reactions to it. It’s “nothing to sneeze at,” remarks Mick LaSalle in the San Francisco Chronicle. His conclusion: Don’t expect great cinema ingenuity despite the fact that it comes from director Steven Soderbergh and boasts an impressive cast. “It’s an action thriller, a good one, but it doesn’t take on any additional importance or meaning as it wears on — it’s just a smart, entertaining experience, which is enough. But it might change your life. You may never again be able to touch your face without asking yourself where those hands have been.” Kenneth Turan in the Los Angeles Times finds Soderbergh a particularly cold and distant film director but concedes that his approach works here. He adds: “One of the things that makes Soderbergh … such an effective filmmaker is that he knows how to move stories along at an epidemic clip.” Several critics observe that a great deal of research went into the production of the film — a worldwide, deadly contagious virus like the one described in the movie could come about. “All of this works as drama,” remarks Roger Ebert in the Chicago Sun-Times. Steven Rea’s review in the Philadelphia Inquirer is headlined, “Crisp, quick, star-laden saga of a deadly disease.” On the other hand, Joe Neumaier in the New York Daily News is immune to the praise the movie has received from his colleagues. “There’s a sense of dread in Contagion,” he writes, “but it never spreads to us.” And Rex Reed in the New York Observer apparently came away from the movie feeling a little ill. “I found Contagion both flawed and fascinating,” he writes, “but it’s not an entertainment.”