Contagion movie synopsis

Contagion (release: Sept. 9) synopsis appears below, from the official movie website.  As I said in my previous post, all of us science thriller fans know there is nothing original about this killer virus/global pandemic plot.  Whether the movie thrills us or not will depend on how well the moviemakers applied their craft.

At this point, though, I definitely give them credit for making a SCIENCE thriller, not a sci-fi thriller.  Everything in this synopsis sounds realistic.  (Except perhaps the part about a WHO doctor trying to track the origin of the epidemic; while that is important in the long term to contain infections, it doesn’t help you find a cure.)  I’m still wondering how they will end this story.  Unscientific, last-second magical cure?  Or more realistic slow discovery of a vaccine that takes a year to manufacture and distribute?

An international traveler reaches into the snack bowl at an airport bar before passing her credit card to a waiter.  A business meeting begins with a round of handshakes.  A man coughs on a crowded bus…

One contact. One instant.  And a lethal virus is transmitted.

When Beth Emhoff (Gwyneth Paltrow) returns to Minneapolis from business in Hong Kong, what she thought was jet lag takes a virulent turn.  Two days later, she’s dead in the ER and the doctors tell her shocked and grieving husband (Matt Damon) they have no idea why.

Soon, others exhibit the same mysterious symptoms: hacking coughs and fever, followed by seizure, brain hemorrhage…and ultimately, death.  In Minneapolis, Chicago, London, Paris, Tokyo, and Hong Kong, the numbers quickly multiply: one case becomes four, then sixteen, then hundreds, thousands, as the contagion sweeps across all borders, fueled by the countless human interactions that make up the course of an average day.

A global pandemic explodes.

At the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, researchers mobilize to break the code of a unique biological pathogen as it continues to mutate.  Deputy Director Cheever (Laurence Fishburne) tries to allay the growing panic despite his own personal concerns, and must send a brave young doctor (Kate Winslet) into harm’s way.  At the same time, amid a rising tide of suspicion over a potential vaccine—and who gets it first—Dr. Leonora Orantes (Marion Cotillard) of the World Health Organization works through the network of connections that could lead back to the source of what they’re dealing with.

As the death toll escalates and people struggle to protect themselves and their loved ones in a society breaking down, one activist blogger (Jude Law) claims the public isn’t getting the truth about what’s really going on, and sets off an epidemic of paranoia and fear as infectious as the virus itself.

“Contagion” is rated PG-13.

Viruses killing people aren’t the only way microbes can wreak havoc on society.  What if oil-eating bacteria got into the fuel supply and turned gasoline into vinegar?
 Petroplague
 by Amy Rogers. Watch trailer at right. 

 If you plan to see Contagion, you should read:
The Things That Keep Us Here by Carla Buckley

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One Response to Contagion movie synopsis

  1. Pingback: Sci-Fi Films: Are They A Trustworthy Projection of Science and Its Outcomes? | SCIF1004 – G10 – Can Hollywood Science be Educational?

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