This is our formal declaration: Steven Soderbergh is not an autuer. While others may have already came to this decision, we had hope. With a director like Soderbergh with around 27 titles under his belt we had assumed there may be some subtle nuance of authorial style, some flourish that when seen one can say, "oh, there's that Soderbergh moment." This is not to say there is no merit to his work, and overall we find his films enjoyable, but his mainstream fare is only entertaining the first time. Contagion is no different.
We at CineNiche believe Contagion to be a more horrific rendering of Wolfgang Peterson's Outbreak. We were drawn to Contagion not by the overwhelmingly star studded cast, but by the theme of apocalypse. Of course we had assumed the film would play out like the awesome first half of The Stand and on a lesser scale it does. It creates a world of palpable paranoia while trying to maintain the logistics of an epidemic. Unfortunately the two are not well balanced and while you walk away afraid to touch anything you also maintain faith in the American government and our Center for Disease Control and Prevention. Had this been in another filmmaker's hands there may have been no hope provided, which in the end is with every fan of apocalypse cinema looks forward to.
Perhaps faith in a happy ending is the new Soderberghian concept, but it seems like a fall from grace when you consider his Sex, Lies, And Videotape roots.