Nights In

Side effects – film review

Emily (Rooney Mara) is married to Martin (Channing Tatum). He has been incarcerated for four years, after being found guilty of practicing insider trading, and has just been released from prison. Emily is in the care of psychiatrist Dr Jonathan Banks (Jude Law) who is abundantly arrogant, a personality trait that Law can portray effortlessly. She suffers from chronic depression and after a couple of suicide attempts he prescribes her with a new drug on the market called Ablixa.

The film pivots as the doctor slowly realises that he is the victim of a treacherous plan, a sinister web of deceit has been spun around him. It has been inspired by cunning greed and seduction and is the brainchild two very devious minds. He is an easy target, as a man so motivated by ego and materialism is one easily manipulated.

The film delivers a swift kick to the pharmaceutical industry. It does this by exploring and exposing the culture of drugging patients as opposed to exploring the root of the problem and thus dealing with issues more organically, when possible.

In one particular scene a group of medical professionals and representatives are in a restaurant, dinner being hosted by fellow psychiatrist, Dr Victoria Siebert (Catherine Zeta Jones). She is recruiting for clinical trials for the new medication Ablixa and one representative boasts how he was flow to an exotic location by a pharmaceutical company, was only obliged to give a five minute speech on the drug and subsequently spent the rest of the time on the golf course. Dr Banks is only too happy to partake in the clinical trials in exchange for $50,000, a figure he gloats to his unemployed wife. The fee is however not fitting for the consequences inflicted.

There is a subtle sub-theme present throughout the film that deals with the drug industry's corruption and greed, which has obliterated the genuine want to cure the patient with hard work and persistence. It suggests that medication and money have an inappropriate and twisted relationship, which proposes that any ailment can simply be drugged away, yielding to a dangerous pill-popping culture.

Although an original and intelligent movie, the sinister scheme concocted is too elaborate to warrant complete credibility, entertaining the far-fetched. Revenge on the injured party, Dr Banks, is sought and achieved but it was not embellished or indulged enough, leaving a slight unfinished feeling lingering.

However Side Effects does boldly delve into the darkest shades and dimensions of the human psyche and to that effect, it is a brave and ambitious psychological thriller.