Corona virus, The Motion Picture? Early on in Contagion, Steven Soderbergh’s global mega-pandemic thriller with massive parallels with the 2019 breakout of Corona Virus, the scalp of a dead patient played by Gwyneth Paltrow is opened up during an autopsy. A flap of flesh flops over her pretty forehead. For a movie that deals with human decay and rot, this was the lone gross out for me. However, this wasn’t the portion of the movie that most troubled me. What was most disturbing was the goodies. The Government.
Corona Virus Paranoia Politics
Along with Corona Virus panic, our age is a trash heap of anti-government paranoia. To the far-right, Saunders is the rising socialist nominee and a fascist while the rabid left see POTUS Trump as a medieval minded dictator in waiting. Meanwhile, on the far-left-anarchist periphery you have Vivian Kubrick and Julian Assange of Wikileaks, to whom government is an evil force, and a target for disruption. In the more paranoid worldview, there is no right function for government and no government that can be trusted. Contagion serves as a panacea of sorts to all of these paranoias and precursive predictive programming for the Corona virus. The film begins with an ashen-faced Gwyneth Paltrow sitting in a Hong Kong airport bar on her way home to the U.S. giddy on her iPhone to a secret love while coughing all over the peanuts. Everyone remembers that old wives tale about how bar peanuts contain zillions of different urine samples, right? In no time at all Paltrow is dead from the Corona Virus looking MEV-1 that similarly is a mix of bat and pig viruses. As the doctors and scientists scramble to identify it we are told, “somewhere in the world, the wrong bat met up with the wrong pig.” Sound familiar?
Over the past twenty years we have seen a huge increase in literary, television and cinematic material about society breaking down into chaos but Contagion with its Corona Virus similarities breaks rank by not having the Government as the negative force. Take The Road, adapted from the novel by Cormac McCarthy for example. In that downbeat gem while all authority has vanished from the world, rabid bands of “road agents” kill, rape and devour individuals not prepared to do the same thus marking out collective groups of any size as highly negative. In Blindness the government abandons people who have been infected by its own Corona Virus style contagion to a mental institution.
Is Contagion Pro Big Pharma Propaganda?
Contagion take on the form a promotion video for big pharma and strong government intervention on Corona Virus. Much panic and unnecessary chaos ensue once the virus spreads with authority figures like police, doctors and nurses deserting their duties. Airports and malls are desolate, and the looting has started as destruction by anarchy sets in. Cinematically, the conventions of this type of movie are so uniform, you fully expect the Government to betray the public and launch nuclear attacks to control the Corona style virus. Instead we are shown a selfless saving force that acts against its own preservation to control the virus in an orderly manner. A highly efficient Kate Winslet races around Minneapolis attempting to create a quarantine zone and help infected patients. Finally she develops the Corona Virus style hacking cough in her hotel room and instead of panic her concern is turned to the waiter who brought her late night room service.
Whether or Contagion actually is predictive program as the more suspicious minded will tell you, its similarity to the Corona Virus breakout is both fascinating and undeniable. The decision to break convention and serve as a cautionary tale against resisting draconian Government measures in times of crisis is the hidden worry within its many layers and narratives.