‘Side Effects’ with Rooney Mara and Jude Law is a movie that had been recommended to me by several people whose judgment in film I trust. Turns out they didn’t disappoint. This is an intense psychological thriller with great cinematography and more than solid acting by all those involved.
The pacing of the story is great. It never reveals too much information nor too little, but just the right amount to keep the audience interested. This movie has more internal conflict than external, which is revealed through very subtle dialogue—especially at the beginning.
Rooney Mara really surprised me in this film. Her performance struck me as very cerebral and silent, with most of her emotions happening inside her head, but she also manages to convey them through the screen as well. The best shots of this movie happen when she is supposedly drugged, because you can tell the lighting and mood and angles of the camera shift and change to express her state of mind. I would say this film worked because of her performance, although Jude Law also did a good job as the well-meaning psychiatrist.
There are some really great plot twists towards the end. In fact, if there were one thing I would criticize in this film is that their plot twists sometimes could be interpreted as a lack of direction in concept, because it seems like this film starts out being something and ends up becoming something completely different. I didn’t really mind it much this time because I liked how they played out the story and I liked the ending, as well.
All in all a decent film if you like intense cerebral thrillers with dramatic shots, subtle dialogue, and solid acting.