Contagion is the most recent film of many to take on the story of what happens when a disease starts to spread like a wild fire. The first ten minutes will have you on the edge of your seat and second guessing the person a few seats down from you thats coughing, but thats truly the only part of the film that is that intriguing.

This latest film by director Steven Soderbergh is filled with a large cast of big name actors and Oscar winners. Soderbergh has a great Hollywood reputation and its obvious by looking at his casts that actors want to work with him. After watching this film, however, I am wondering, why?

Contagion follows the story of a handful of characters and how they each relate to the recent Bird Flu epidemic that is killing millions across the world. Matt Damon and Gwyneth Paltrow are the first to experience it, as Paltrow is one of the first victims.  Then we meet a series of other characters: Laurence Fishburne and Kate Winslet both work for the Center of Disease Control, Marion Cotillard works for a world wide disease control center, and Jude Law is a blogging journalist.  This makes the film feel jumpy.  However,  we see all sides of the story. The doctors trying to find a cure, the politicians worrying about all their political issues, and the CDC trying to figure out what this disease is.  Also there’s the conspiracy theory guy blaming the govenment and pharmaceuticals, the workers in the field dealing with the patients, and one normal family. It tries to get you from all angles, but doesn’t manage to make you truly invested in any of them.

While the first ten minutes gives you hope that this may be a unique thriller, it soon falls into predictability. Many of the name actors hardly share a scene together and some, in fact, were extremely underused. What is the point of having actors with the ability to develop deep characters with heart and not give them the opportunity? It is one of the central faults in this film, lack of heart. There is no moment when we as an audience really care about the individual. There are a few moments with Damon’s character but that can be counted on one hand. Aside from that, we are not affected by these characters. Soderbergh has become predictable and hasn’t really progressed in his recent work and this  film is exactly that. You can feel the moments coming when he tries to squeeze in some heart, but by that point we could care less.

The film does have a plausibility to it that is what will most likely be the one thing people enjoy from it. This could happen and it could go down exactly like this. Of course we want to see us all saved, but this film had the potential to be much stronger and it took a big swing and missed it entirely.

I am sure the names alone will draw a decent opening weekend but you won’t hear about this film much beyond that. We already saw most of this in Outbreak and 28 Days Later. This film doesn’t give me much hope that we are going to see the old Soderbergh back to his Traffic form. My advice, if you’ve seen other disease spreading movies, you can skip this one. Don’t let the names draw you in, they are not used to their potential and seem to have not been given the opportunity to sink their teeth into this one.