Viral times: 'Contagion' makes pandemic feel real
Sep 6, 2011

LOS ANGELES (AP) — The Hollywood disaster movie typically comes with quakes, asteroids, tornadoes or aliens ripping the planet to shreds and manly heroes tossing around wisecracks as they carry out impossible deeds to save the world. Yet Steven Soderbergh figured the more authentic a potential apocalypse feels, the scarier it becomes. Opening Friday at U.S. theaters, Soderbergh's "Contagion" lays out a terrifying scenario — the swift spread of a deadly new virus around the globe — with a mix of personal drama and merciless realism that makes it both riveting and foreboding. From the start, director Soderbergh and screenwriter Scott Z. Burns aimed for an ultra-realistic tale of a pandemic so genuine and lacking in Hollywood egotism that — spoiler alert — the character played by one of the top names among its A-list cast, Gwyneth Paltrow, dies horribly in the opening minutes. Read more on