Perils of Pill Popping

This is my review of Side Effects [DVD] (2003).

A beautiful young woman remains clinically depressed even after her husband is released from jail for insider training. A failed suicide attempt brings her to the attention of a caring but ambitious psychiatrist (Jude Law) and it seems we are set for an exposé of the US drug industry, by turns reducing everyone to casual pill popping, often ruining the lives of vulnerable patients whose sickness is relieved only at the price of grim side effects, and corrupting medical professionals in the process. In short, this starts off very much in the same vein as the director Soderbergh's crusading Erin Brockovich with its attack on corporate environmental polluters.

Halfway through, the film takes a sharp turn to become a complicated and fast-moving thriller of the type which causes you to risk missing a point if you spend too much time trying to work out the previous clue. It was entertaining at the time but left me feeling dissatisfied with too many somewhat implausible plot twists.

This is well-acted, skilfully filmed, is hard to review without giving away too much of the plot but would have been much more powerful if it had kept to the moral dilemmas of modern psychiatric medicine.

⭐⭐⭐ 3 Stars

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