Film Review: Side Effects

This movie should be good, it has a big name cast, it has a plot that is not only plausible, but interesting and thought provoking and to keep you guessing it has the standard thriller plot twist. However, there are plot twists and then there are plot twists.

I almost wonder whether writer Scott Z. Burns was suffering from the side effects to something when he came up with the twist. I never got around to seeing the film in the cinema, I kept seeing the trailer and thinking “yep need to see that” but then annoyingly, something would always crop up and before I knew it it’d been dropped from my local multiplex.

So it was a case of grabbing the blu-ray and settling in for an evening’s entertainment. For an hour, it was exactly that, entertaining. The cast create a world into which you become totally immersed. The plot grabs you, asks you questions and makes you think. It makes you question the drugs you take and it makes you think this could actually happen. You connect to it.

Then it goes “…And Twist!”. At which point everything just falls apart into total nonsense. A plot that was believable becomes as silly as a Benny Hill sketch and all faith you’ve built up in the movie, in the characters and the world it has created just melt away.

It almost feels like there were two ideas for films on the table and only permission to make one, so as a result, they have just smashed them both together and papered over the join. It’s such a crying shame though. Movie #2 “The Unnecessary Twist” should have been left on the table and movie #1 should have been allowed to drag you further and further, deeper and deeper into a thriller that really has you sitting there scared that what you’re watching on screen could potentially transpose itself into real life, into your life with such simplistic ease that you almost wonder whether you’d want to take a prescription drug again!

I can’t tell you to avoid Side Effects, two thirds of it is good, is almost really good, it’s just spoilt very, very badly. My feelings and advice on it would be this: don’t pay to see it, and if you have a choice between it and something else, then probably go for the something else, either that or just turn it off after an hour.

5 out of 10 stars (5 / 10)

Posted on by 5WC in Film First Edition

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