Soderbergh’s ‘Contagion’ condemns anti-vaccine internet conspiracy theorists

September 20, 2011
Actor Jude Law at the 2007 Toronto Internation...

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I’ve been meaning to write about the recently released Soderbergh film, “Contagion” for about a week now. The film is quite good though it certainly has it’s flaws, such as a scene where a man with an infected disease is told by an infectious disease expert to get off a bus immediately instead of insisting neither he nor anyone else get off the bus so it could be quarantined or various scenes where the same expert needs to teach the Minnesota Center for Disease Control the most basic information about their job.

But otherwise, the film mostly proved to be a strong film that was both pro-science and uncompromisingly anti-pseudoscience with Jude Law playing an amalgam of anti-vaccine cranks that are quite familiar. It’s the panic and hysteria Law’s character helps create which gives the film it’s title far more than the actual disease itself. In an interview, Law said that he read a lot of crank sites and built his performance around numerous figures, opting not to name any names. Of course, I know their names. I’ve been in the same room with several of them. Law seems to be channeling Mike Adams, Joseph Mercola, Andrew Wakefield, and Dan Olmsted, among several others. Law’s character is the closest the film has to a real villain.

I hope more people will go out and see this film. Rarely do such strong skeptical films where science is the hero get made in Hollywood.

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