A sly one, "Side Effects" is a movie in which the main character's pharmacological state of mind is never entirely certain.
In such a role it's critical to have someone who can keep an audience guessing as to the state of that mind, moment to moment. How dim, how smart, how foggy, how alert is she supposed to be at any given point in the story? With the right actress those questions take you somewhere, even if you're blindfolded.
Wide-eyed, a sphinx who eludes easy understanding, Mara doesn't grab the screen so much as regard it, warily. (She played
"Side Effects" marks the third time Burns and Soderbergh have collaborated as screenwriter and director, following the larky
Roughly a third of "Side Effects" takes place before that bloody incident, and two-thirds of it picks up the serpentine action afterward. At the start Rooney's Emily cannot find her bearings. Her husband, played by
Nice perk. But is the doctor's diagnosis of Emily's condition accurate? Enough of "Side Effects" qualifies as a thriller, and a mystery, that we'll keep mum regarding its surprises.
Soderbergh shoots digitally under his usual fake name, Peter Andrews, casting a vaguely sickening orange tint to some of the interiors. The composer