For those not in the know, Rogers as a company has decided to stop selling/renting DVDs and games, and from here on out devote all of their stores entirely to their cell phone and cable services.  As a result most Rogers locations have been having massive sales to clear out all DVD stock, and I was able to pick up a few good and not-so-good deals.  One of the good ones is Contagion.

Now in Contagion, a lot of stars come out to play. There’s Gwyneth Paltrow, Matt Daemon is the leading man, Kate Winslet the leading lady, Jude Law plays a fairly large role, they even got Laurence Fishbourne!  How sweet is that!

*Ahem* Sorry, was my inner geek showing?

Let me just tuck that away there…

Anyways! First off I really liked this movie.  I am a fan of post apocalyptic story lines (especially when it involves zombies), and the more realistic the better.  I enjoy being scared either through special effects and make up, or the good old psychological mind f*ck like in the days of Poe and Lovecraft.  And I like to think that Contagion falls into the latter category.

Contagion is kinda-sorta-not-really post apocalyptic, in that it starts off in the here and now, but by the end of the movie our society has almost reached Road Warrior status.  Gwyneth Paltrow plays Patient Zero in a new found epidemic, more contagious and deadly than the flu.  She comes home from a business trip in Japan, sick with something, and twenty four hours later she’s dead, her son’s dead, and the dominoes have started to fall across the world.  Matt Daemon actually plays her husband, who for some reason seems to be the only one immune to this illness, I think just so they could have at least one main character make it from start to finish.

So Gwyn’s character dies, her son dies, and all these people in the States are getting sick, and stuff is leaking into the Interwebs of the same illness affecting Japan.  This is where Jude Law comes in.

Jude Law plays one of those conspiracy theory reporters who gets the first whiffs of the illness from the blogosphere in Japan, and he tries to get it out to main stream American, just as the CDC (Kate Winslet & Laurence Fishbourne) is starting to wake up and realize they need to start looking into things here.  And what do conspiracy nuts do when the world goes to hell? Make it worse of course by inspiring mass panic!

Now the CDC do all they can to research, isolate, experiment, vaccinate and all that, but alas and alack it is too little too late.  Whatever this thing is, we discover early on in the game that it has an incredibly high infection rate because it can be transmitted through surfaces as well as through the air.  Kate Winslet plays the local CDC doc on scene, she’s the one doing all the field work: taking the notes, examining the patients, etc etc; and Laurence Fishbourne is essentially her boss who also happens to be the liaison for the higher governmental muckity mucks.

So everyone is scrambling trying to find a cure for whatever the heck is going one, while entire towns are wiped out almost overnight.  By the end of the movie the army is handing out MREs (Meals Ready to Eat: Just add water!), there are rioters and looters on almost every street, and the streets that are quiet, are too quiet if you get my drift.

But in the end, a vaccine is made, order is slowly being restored to the good old U.S. of A, albeit slowly, and while half the cast has died off for one reason or another, the other half are thankful to be alive.

That is, until the virus mutates.

The great thing about Contagion, is that it’s a story that could actually happen, and has on a smaller degree with SARS and the bird flu.  That’s what’s so scary about it to me, and what makes me love it so much.  It’s a very creepy, vivid reminder that we as human beings are not the omnipotent creatures we think we are.  Half of our planet’s population can be wiped out in a matter of months by something we can’t even see, and we would be powerless to stop it.

We never know exactly what the virus was that almost wiped us out, but at the very end we do know how it was transmitted to Patient Zero, something that just makes the whole thing a lot more scary than anything the movie had shown since.

Enjoy folks…