Contagion is a fictional film that documents the hypothetical scenario wherein a dangerous virus starts a global pandemic. Like many people stuck at home in 2020 due to COVID 19, I watched the film out of morbid curiosity. The story in itself bears striking resemblance to present-day events, lending it a sense of authenticity. However, its biggest shortcoming is its failure to consider the ineptitude of politicians and the ignorance of people. Unlike the film, Earth currently faces a scenario made many times worse by the inaction of leaders. In all other regards, from the social distancing protocols to the manner in which it spreads, the film and reality are almost alike. Fortunately or unfortunately, the film’s virus has a higher mortality rate and a shorter incubation period. As such its effects kick in very quickly. COVID 19 has an incubation period of two weeks, and a mortality rate of 3%, allowing for a slow spread.
Humans are not reacting to it quickly enough because we are empirical beings who put no faith in things we can’t see, unless its god. Thus it’s not the lethality of the virus that we will die to, but rather the possible inability of the healthcare system to keep up with the sheer number of cases.
Anyway, the film is a bit boring as it lacks a clear thorough line, has too many characters who are following their own arcs and who barely meet for a scene or two, leaving the audience feeling as scattered as the virus after a patient has sneezed. Maybe if the film had been better and more people had seen it, we would have acted against COVID19 better. A case for Soderberg to stop making artsy films? Alas not.