Contagion in the free Indonesian translation means contagion. Judging from the title, you must have guessed that this film tells about an epidemic of a disease or virus. The story begins with Beth Emhoff (Gwyneth Paltrow) who is sitting drinking and eating peanuts at an airport. Beth looked unwell and coughed and looked like someone with a cold or flu. I have always been amazed by the way American directors portray a person who is infected with the virus, for sure the rule is that the person is coughing and looks like someone has the flu. But, well, that’s probably the most effective way for directors to describe people who catch the virus. Best Movie Site
Then there are short scenes of people in China, England and Japan who are just as sick from the virus as Beth Emhoff and finally die after having had convulsions and foaming at the mouth. These are the people who are the beginning of the disaster for the spread of the viral epidemic. Beth finally died and her child also died because she was hugged by her mother shortly after Beth arrived home. Beth’s husband, Mitch Emhoff (Matt Damon) is immune to the virus, even though he was quarantined at the hospital where his wife was being treated. Mitch’s daughter, Jory Emhoff (Anna Jacoby-Heron), who lives in another city, is also immune and accompanies her father after her mother and sister die. This is where Mitch and Jory’s adventure begins to survive in an environment that has been chaotic due to a virus epidemic.
Meanwhile, the American government, through the CDC (Center for Disease Control) and the world health agency, WHO (World Health Organization), is racing against time to find a vaccine for this deadly virus. Starting from doctors, researchers, and virologists working together to find a vaccine. Oh yes, this virus is categorized as deadly and is thought to have originated from a virus in bats and pigs which then merged and formed a new strain. The mode of transmission is direct contact with someone with the virus or through items that have been touched by someone with the virus. People who have been infected can die in less than 8 hours (if I’m not mistaken, it’s too much detail throughout this film). The CDC epidemic special intelligence agent investigating this case is Dr. Erin Mears (Kate Winslet), the head of the CDC team (Erin’s boss), namely Dr. Ellis Cheever played by Laurence Fishburne. In this chaotic condition, to make this film more exciting, Alan Krumwiede (Jude Law), a blogger who claims to be a freelance journalist, is included to fish in murky water. Alan, who turns out to be immune to the virus, in a video on his blog, pretends to be sick and takes forsythia (a drug that Alan says works for the virus) to get him well. Alan also accused the United States government of having a conspiracy with pharmaceutical companies so that forsythia was restricted. Likewise, the manufacture of this anti-virus vaccine is kept secret so that only certain groups can get the first benefit from this vaccine. Movie Review
In other parts of the world, namely China, a researcher from WHO, Dr. Leonora Orantes (Marion Cotillard) who is carrying out an investigation into the spread of this virus, must face an unexpected situation. He was held hostage by the Chinese government with a vaccine ransom for this virus, because the largest victim of this deadly virus was China. In this film, China is also accused of being the origin of the spread of the virus, because before getting sick and dying, the virus spreaders in Britain, America and Japan had traveled to China.
In general, this film is more complex than films with viral epidemics, such as Outbreak (1995) or The Crazies (2011), for example. The strength of this film lies in the plot which makes people want to know more. Basic questions throughout the film such as, who spread this virus and is there a conspiracy behind the spread of this virus, are answered one by one. The various characters in this film are not thoroughly explored, perhaps so that the audience can think globally without having to know the backgrounds of all the main characters involved. Unlike The Crazies who positioned the main character as the only survivor in a virus epidemic, or a researcher who became a super hero who was racing against time in Outbreak, here we are invited to see the impact of the epidemic more thoroughly from various perspectives. The power of social media in the 21st century has a very strong influence on people’s mindset, especially in chaotic conditions as depicted in this film. The proof, Alan Krumwiede in his blog has succeeded in influencing Americans to queue for forsythia for the sake of his recovery, even though it is a hoax. The American government in this film also seems to be covering up about the incidence of this virus epidemic and its vaccine, so that Alan is increasingly free to talk about spreading hoaxes for his personal gain.
Some things that really “flickered” in my mind when watching this film were America’s superhero-like character, too “parno” the same as the virus and scapegoating China as if it were a “nest” of various deadly viruses in the world. In this film, it is described as if China is the origin of the virus and America has managed to find a vaccine to treat it. In short, America can save the world from crisis. I remember when Hollywood made the film Rambo (in the 1980s) after America lost its war with Vietnam. Rambo is described as a super hero capable of fighting hundreds of Vietcong soldiers with makeshift weapons. Hollywood seemed to avenge America’s defeat against Vietnam through Rambo. Perhaps the same analogy can also apply to this Contagion, because China has now shown its fangs as one of the strongest economic titan in Asia, so that America is a bit “flat” also seeing China’s increasingly advanced economic development. Hence, perhaps America is carrying out a “black campaign” against China, one of which is through this Contagion.
But there are also positive things that we can learn from this Contagion. For example, about the CDC’s responsiveness in dealing with this viral epidemic or also life lessons about willingness to sacrifice for the benefit of many people. As did a virologist who injected himself with a vaccine prototype that he also did not know the effect of. I wish, if an incident like this in the Contagion happened in Indonesia, surely half of the Indonesian people would have died, but the government still considered it lonely and was usually only “concerned” and “cursed”. The health department will later find the vaccine, which has the most classic answer, “We are still waiting for further developments and making observations”. Top Movie
In closing, this film is very worth watching for thriller fans who are more concerned with a different plot and perspective, rather than the main character’s ability to escape the crisis. Everybody in this movie are heroes …. because this film is very thick about solving the crisis as a whole, not personally. Oh yes, the ending of this film will answer the origin of the virus, so don’t get out of your seat before the film is over.