The last movie I watched before all these academic crazies is #Contagion (2011). Directed by Steven Soderbergh (Sex, Lies, and Videotape and Ocean’s Eleven), it depicted an almost realistic phenomenon that could happen when an epidemic breaks.
Apart from the all-star cast (#MarionCotillard, Gwyneth Paltrow, Matt Damon, Kate Winslet, Jude Law), the cinematography, and the horrid virus-infested premise, what the audience should watch this for is its script. Scott Z. Burns did an exceptional job infusing social concepts in the movie. Aside from the biology of it, it centered on topics like social order disrupt, unbalanced power relations in democratic states, and information-flow control.
The deviation of the movie from obvious elaboration of chemical and biological concepts that other pathological films portrayed of is a stand out in itself, but what stood from the movie is its witty, almost in-your-face take on social media. In the movie, social media was seen as a promotional tool for paranoia which, in varying levels, is even more dangerous than the outbreak itself. The propagation of fear and false hope by #Jude Law’s blogger character Alan Krumwiede instilled chaos among his subscribers, viciously attacking one another to grab an antidote that the blogger promised as effective.
The movie even added borderline offensive commentaries about blogging. The most striking statement of which says that “Blogging is not writing; it’s graffiti with punctuation.”
Social media was used as a metaphor of epidemic transfer and information was the disease. It showed how easily diseases are transmitted, as it is easy to spread a status message or a tweet among your contacts. The movie connected with the viewers on a personal level: an average moviegoer would probably not understand the ill-effects of biological transfer of diseases but one can easily connect to the quick spread of information through social media. With that, Contagion served its purpose.