Contagion Movie: Thrilling, Yes; Accurate Portrayal of Bloggers...Not so Much
Contagionopened on September 9 and was #1 at the box office on the slowest movie weekend of the year, with a total of $23.1 million. Directed by the Academy Award-winning Steven Soderbergh (Traffic), this fast-paced thriller about a viral pandemic was quite accurate in the scientific department, a rarity for Hollywood blockbusters. The scenes from the CDC (Centers for Disease Control) were particularly realistic and gripping. The virus in Contagion is the "makes you cough and then die" variety, not the kind that keeps IT departments and the Geek Squad in business. Too bad this exciting movie did not have a stronger sensibility for tech and social media, as it was chock full of misleading and disrespectful comments about bloggers.
Courtesy of Warner Bros Studios
Starring enough Oscar nominees and winners to cause a red carpet traffic jam, Contagion kills quite a few of them off early in the film. Gwyneth Paltrow is featured as the first victim of an unidentified and highly contagious virus. She picks it up on a business trip to Hong Kong and unwittingly infects her young son, a hapless town car driver and ultimately most of the U.S. before you can say "please pass the decongestant." This movie is so realistic, I highly recommend that you refrain from going if you've got the sniffles. The one soul who dared a muffled cough in the matinee I attended was glared at nervously by fellow movie goers.
Contagion's stellar cast also includes Kate Winslet, Laurence Fishbourne and Marion Cotillard as CDC scientists, Matt Damon as the husband of doomed Gwyneth and Jude Law as Alan Krumwiede, a popular blogger living in San Francisco.
It is the Krumwiede character who causes my problem with this movie Wearing a prosthetic buck tooth, Law plays the character as pushy and unattractive. As a well-known blogger, Krumwiede is obsessed with building his audience (and bank account) as he offers false hope and questionable viral antidotes to his minions. In one scene he hisses that "print journalism is dead." In another, his entire profession is dismissed by Elliot Gould, who plays a Bay Area scientist and researcher. "Blogging isn't writing!" Gould's character says. "It's graffiti with punctuation!"
Oh, my. Them's fightin' words. Or should I say those are fighting words, before someone misconstrues this blogger's attempt at colloquialism?
What do you think about Contagion? Did you see the movie? Were you offended by its poor portrayal of bloggers?