Side Effects (2013)

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A young woman suffering from depression is charged with murder, leaving her psychiatrist with the task of proving that her actions were caused by the side effects of an experimental medication that he prescribed.

This psychological thriller from Steven Soderbergh is very Hitchcockian in its ambitions; the subject matter of mental illness combined with the twists and turns of a post modern thriller is very much in a similar vein to Vertigo. While it never reaches the lofty heights of this particular classic, Side Effects is smart enough to keep the audience guessing as to which way the story will weave next and has a nice sideline in questioning the ethics of how pharmaceutical corporations run their businesses and how psychiatrists are so eager to prescribe easy fixes in the form of the latest pill, touted by company reps with some very dubious methods of their own.

In the end the story relies on the ever-inevitable twist in the tale, but its combination of mild social commentary and psychological wrong-footing makes for a thriller that’s a cut above the usual mainstream fare.

6.5/10

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