Within the first ten minutes of this film I felt physically ill, and all I'd seen was a feverish Gwyneth Paltrow. However, the opening sequence's montage was of surfaces; those multidinous points of contact we share with hundreds, even thousands of nameless, faceless strangers every day. Doorknobs, cellphones, faucets, bartops, railings, touchscreens... any surface that we thoughtlessly use within a regular day. Contagion
is about just that, the networks of possible infection within our increasingly interconnected and interdependent populations, told with raw, emotional, and brutally honest intensity but in such a controlled way that at times it feels more documentary than melodrama. So engrossing is this film that not long after the opening credits rolled, I excused myself from the theater to wash my hands and splash some cold water on my face. It wasn't from gore, or handy-cam choppiness, or even a bad burrito, but from the overwhelming feeling of reality.