Amazon Prime Contagion - Buy Contagion at a low price; free delivery on qualified orders. See reviews & details on a wide selection of Blu-ray & DVDs. Prime Video is a streaming video service by Amazon. Prime Video benefits are included with an Amazon Prime membership. With your membership, you can watch hundreds of. Contagion 6.7 1 h 46 min 2011 X-Ray PG-13 Oscar®-winning filmmaker Steven Soderbergh returns to large-scale cinema with this global action thriller that revolves around the threat of a deadly outbreak of a fatal disease and the people determined to keep it at bay.

Steven Soderbergh's medical thriller is a gripping but harrowing watch.

Ivan Radford On 12, Sep 2014

Director: Steven Soderbergh
Cast: Gwyneth Paltrow, Laurence Fishburne, Matt Damon, Kate Winslet, Marion Cotillard
Certificate: 15
Watch Contagion online in the UK: Netflix UK / Amazon Prime / iTunes / TalkTalk TV / Prime Video (Buy/Rent) / Rakuten TV / Google Play

Not since a certain 1995 film has the on-screen fate of Gwyneth Paltrow been quite so alarming. Here, Steven Soderbergh turns her into the epicentre of a harrowing global tale of contamination.

At first, husband Mitch (the always-likeable Matt Damon) doesn’t know what to do. What caused her to die? The doctors don’t know. As Mitch rushes to make sure his daughter is unaffected, the infection spreads at a grimly plausible rate.

Enter Lawrence Fishburne and Kate Winslet. They play Science People, who talk in scientific words and use science to cure the problem scientifically. “Has someone weaponised bird flu?” asks a clueless character, who doesn’t speak science. “We don’t need to weaponise bird flu. The birds have already done that,” replies Fishburne with deadpan gallows humour.


As the infection becomes international, biological babble emanates from all over the place. “I can see some structures on the surface that look like glycoproteins, but there’s nothing morphologically pathognomonic,” says one science person who isn’t Lawrence Fishburne. You suspect they may not last long.

When it was released in 2011, that was perhaps the main source of fun while watching Soderbergh’s film: guessing which character would be in the danger zone next. Years later, though, the film would go on to have a chillingly prescient grasp of how viral events occur – with every new location, text flashes up. London. Population: 8.6 million. Title cards have rarely felt so ominous.

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Damon and Marion Cotillard bring enough emotion to make you emotionally invested, while Jude Law’s stereotypical blogger gives us an antagonist to actively hate other than nameless microorganisms. The script is taut, too. After an initially unsettling autopsy, Soderbergh avoids gore or cheap shock tactics, quietly ramping up the pace to generate tension. Just the sight of an email with the subject line “updated phylogenetic analysis” is enough to get you panicked.

On a molecular level, Contagion is a formulaic watch, but it taps into the alienation and panic that seize a nation whenever a virus breaks out, and that really is quite terrifying – and, while it might not quite class as escapism that riveting suspense is certainly entertaining. Days after, whenever someone sneezes near you, you’ll start reaching for the anti-bacterial hand gel. Not a lot of fiction can generate a side effect like that.


Contagion is available on Netflix UK, as part of an £8.99 monthly subscription. It is also available to watch online on Amazon Prime Video as part of a Prime membership or a £5.99 monthly subscription.


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AM TrendingGwyneth PaltrowKate WinsletLaurence FishburneMarion CotillardMatt DamonSteven Soderbergh

Art changes over time. This is often discussed in a negative context, like when an old, beloved cartoon makes comedy out of racism. It’s a serious challenge for viewers, but there’s another side of art’s versatility through the years: it can gain new meaning that its creators likely did not intend, relating to situations that were unimaginable when the piece was made.

That’s the case with Lorcan Finnegan’s 2019 movie Vivarium, a black comedy meditating on life in the suburbs that has turned into an incredible metaphor for life in Covid lockdown.

2019 is, of course, not that long ago. But given how much the world has changed since then, it’s impossible to see this story of a trapped Jesse Eisenberg and Imogen Poots without thinking of the dulling similarity of life when all the bars, museums, concerts, and sporting events are all closed down. Just as the 2011 movie Contagion caught on as the pandemic’s first waves hit, it is easy to see Vivarium becoming a lockdown cult classic.

Vivarium opens with a series of metaphors. At first, the audience watches a cuckoo bird engage in what is known as brood parasitism, where the mother of one species tricks another to care for their offspring. Cuckoo eggs are placed in the nest of other birds, and their chicks grow faster than the others, and then begin to push aside the birds around, demanding more and more. Eventually, Vivarium shows a baby cuckoo pressuring the mother bird.

It can sound cruel, and it can be easy to assign terms like “greed” or “bullying” to the cuckoo. But when Gemma (Poots), a school teacher, sees a child angry at watching this happen, she reminds the student that it’s neither good nor bad: it’s just how nature works. But then, what happened to the cuckoo starts to happen to Gemma and her boyfriend, Tom (Eisenberg).

Gemma and Tom aren’t married, but they’re looking for a home together. And they don’t think they like what they see when an odd real-estate agent, Jonathan Aris as Martin, takes them to a technicolor Tim Burton-style fever dream version of suburbia and a house numbered 9. And then Martin leaves them there and they can’t get out.

The metaphors for settling down start to pile up here, to the point where one can practically hear David Byrne exclaiming, “This is not my beautiful house!” The two drive in circles as they try to escape their new lives. They try to burn it down. But not only does it not work, they find themselves with more than they came with: a new baby boy, and mysterious orders that they take care of it.

Senan Jennings, the child actor first cast in an Instagram ad at 5 and starring here in Vivarium as The Boy, isthe film's breakout star. Jennings begins to haunt Gemma and Tom’s every waking moment. He repeats their actions back to them ad nauseum, from their reggae dance parties to their fights. He grows up too fast, makes horrible screaming sounds for attention, consumes odd pictures on the television that Gemma and Tom cannot comprehend. While the voice he uses in the movie is an artificial creation, Jennings creates a worthy addition to the Creepy Kid Movie Hall of Fame, right up there with Damien in The Omen and Charlie in Hereditary.

To compensate for their trapped surroundings, Tom finds himself a pointless job that he feels gives him meaning: literally digging a hole in their front yard. But all the digging in the world won’t change their situation, and the two find themselves desperate, alone, and afraid of the world around them.

Director Finnegan has said in interviews that the movie is “open to interpretation and people kind of put themselves in there and have weird projections” on what it really means. In an interview with Coming Soon, Finnegan said the movie was initially inspired by the “Celtic Tiger” years of economic growth in early 2000s Ireland and the subsequent economic bust that left couples “trapped in these vast, empty housing developments, and were unable to sell them and were left with having to pay this gigantic mortgage.”

That interview, by the way, was published in March 2020 — just as Covid was bringing on a whole new economic crisis.

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Vivarium is a riddle of a movie, one that can lead a viewer to pay attention to every detail in hopes of understanding the damn thing. This type of movie can sometimes be more focused on their riddles than actually making a story, but the compelling tension playing out between Eisenberg and Poots as they try their hardest in a situation they didn’t want at all will make this movie hit home for many during Covid.

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Vivarium is streaming now on Amazon Prime in the U.S.