2011 / Steven Soderbergh > In 1965, Peter Watkins’ The War Game faux-documented, in a brutally honest manner, a nuclear bombing and the fallout thereafter. It was timely and impacted people on a ground level, knowing that such an attack was entirely possible at the height of the Cold War. Soderbergh attempts to do the same with a deadly virus of unknown origin—as the term “biochemical weapon” is almost a mainstay in the paranoid media—but opts also to inject small subplots of great humanity into the the film’s creases. Therein lies the problem: These stories dilute Contagion’s effectiveness as a cold-blooded cautionary tale. While Cliff Martinez’ chilling score does wonders to bring us into this world that we hope never exists, the script’s near-black and white morality soon jilts our attention. After a while, everything becomes a happy-go-lucky caricature of who we should be as people instead of a deeper dissection of culture in the midst of a tragic outbreak.