Victim of Circumstance
When her husband Martin (Channing Tatum) is released from prison after 4 years it should be a happy time for Emily Taylor (Rooney Mara) but instead she drivers her car in to a brick wall which puts her in the care of Dr. Jonathan Banks (Jude Law). Discovering that Emily has previously been seen by Dr. Victoria Siebert (Catherine Zeta-Jones) Jonathan decides to put Emily on an experimental medicine called Ablixa. But one night suffering from the sleep walking side effect of the medication she murders Martin and when Jonathan comes to her defence in court it is his reputation which ends up in tatters. Convinced things are not as they seem Jonathan starts poking his nose around to discover something a whole lot bigger is going on.
First things first and "Side Effects" is one of those movies which as reviewer is a real pain in the neck because things are not as they seem and it leaves me as a reviewer with a choice. I could spoil the movie by revealing various twists or try and sell you the movie on just the build up. In the case of "Side Effects" it will be the latter because the twists whilst convoluted are entertaining and make you intrigued by what is going on and how it will all end up.
Now the set up to "Side Effects" whilst also convoluted is simple. What I mean is that for roughly the first third of the movie all we seem to get is establishing that Emily is suffering from some form of depression leading to suicide attempts and then caring Dr. Jonathan Banks puts her on an experimental drug which as it turns out has sleep walking as a side effect. I say all we get but in truth that is how it comes across whilst watching it and it is not until later on in the movie that you realise there is more being revealed in these early scenes than you realise which also explains why they seem to take so long to establish what first seems to be simple. But as I said I am not going to reveal what happens in "Side Effects" other than a real tangled web forms and Jonathan finds himself trying to get to the bottom of everything to save his career and his marriage.
So that leaves me with the acting and I am surprised to say this but Jude Law is convincing as Dr. Jonathan Banks, making him a sympathetic doctor who cares rather than the more typical money grabbing physicians we often see portrayed in thrillers. But Law's performance is not the only good one and Rooney Mara delivers a perfectly intriguing performance because she makes Emily Taylor impossible to read and so during that first third you really don't know what to make of her.
What this all boils down to is that if you enjoy movies full of intrigue and twists then "Side Effects" is going to be for you. But if you are not into movies which take time to come together and don't make everything plainly obvious from the word go then this may be a struggle.