CONTAGION Means Something
Seattle day. This climate practically imposes mandatory film viewership.
Theaters provide safe havens from the wet and cold. And upon exiting,
a long walk beneath the mist and gray encourages rumination on where
producers and studios seek to ferry the human mind.
I go in expecting
a propaganda film and emerge duly obliged.
tells a story of benevolent public servants, motivated by nothing
more than duty. They dash about across the world in pursuit of a
virus and its vaccine.
The CDC and
the WHO convey as spokes model agencies for the support of centralized
government. Never the viewer mind the perhaps more easily questioned
legitimacy of acronyms such as FDA, DOE, and EPA. When it comes
to the protection of innocents from superbugs, best bow to the moral
authority of a few.
We have self
sacrificial characters who believe the best course of action is
to keep information withheld. Transparency spells imminent danger
to the public.
A sort of meta
fear mongering goes on across the narrative arc as one by one and
million by million citizens and politicians alike fall prey to the
new and improved fast acting death touch of a phantom.
If the only
thing to fear is fear itself, then perhaps we arrive back at square
one, with fear still endowing control of mind and body as our greatest
idol and puppeteer. Dread it seems shall always remain the conductor
of mortals, regardless of its source, be it death or suffering or
Yet in Contagion
the message practically back hands the audience with a 'trust your
superiors' bitch slap. It concludes without metaphor that the greatest
thing to fear is ourselves. Not the disease, not a government of
ever increased power and scope. Fear the riots. The chaos. The thieves
who will come to steal your food.
And above all,
fear the internet and bloggers. The self fancied young journalists
who wise old doctor men reduce to just 'graffiti artists who use
punctuation'. In Contagion the televisions that recite the
evening news in the background convey only honest truth, while critical
paranoids toy with the minds of millions and foster ignorance and
chaos on a scale Walter Cronkite never fathomed.
damns the populace and the accessible nature of the internet. I
fear, yes it scares me, that perhaps a slow loss of individuation
looms on our horizon. The FEMA camps, martial law, Homeland Security,
these good men and women who care about us more than we do. We NEED
them the message blares . More perhaps than we need ourselves.
comes as no surprise to me that Steven Soderbergh would take on
a project such as this. He supports the 'deputization of the American
film industry to pursue copyright pirates'. To me that translates
to 'don't let individuals pie slice monopolized profits.' Again,
the internet be thine enemy. The masses too. Governing entities,
not so much.
This film belies
a specific agenda. Any ensemble picture necessitates a more meticulously
planned process than your typical hero/protagonist story. Assisting
Soderbergh in his quest rank a veritable gauntlet of famous names.
I typed 'Contagion propaganda' into google and the results indicate
I am no loner. This film gave pause to many skeptics.
The CDC was
also consulted on the project as confirmed by NPR. Acronyms acronyms
acronyms. In a time when authoritative legitimacy of big, centralized
institutions continues to wane, the State will increase the utilization
of large studios, cult of celebrity, and sensationalized media to
maintain power. The studios will benefit too, for without intellectual
property law, they face drastic disinflation of their generational
with permission from Watch
Between the Frames.
© 2011 Watch
Between the Frames