The similarities of the covid-19 pandemic and the one depicted in the film Contagion are enough to get one to analyse every detail as an insight into what might happen next for us.
Contagion follows the story of a global outbreak of an unknown virus which chillingly mirrors the timeline of the current covid-19 disease.
The movie was released in 2011 and begins on day two of the disease spread. It follows a woman (Gwyneth Paltrow) travelling home to the US from China, a man on a bus in Hong Kong and a model in London at a casting, who all share symptoms of fever, sweat and cough.
These first five minutes of the film, paired with the frosty lighting maintained throughout, set the tone for the intense and cold fate of the people who have contracted this disease.
Nine years after its release, the thriller was broadcast on SABC 3 on Sunday, April 5. The re-emergence of the film’s popularity has been heightened by people sharing snippets of the film to express conspiracy theories about how similar it is to the current pandemic.
Viewers are turning to the film to see how reality is now imitating fiction. As a result of this renewed hype, Contagion has “become the second most-watched movie in Warner Bros.’ catalogue in 2020”, according to film review website IndieWire.
If you watch it in 2020, the movie plays more as a documentary rather than fiction, as parts of the story line, such as the disease’s origin in China, mirror the current covid-19 virus.
An important takeaway from the film is its educational points, as it touches on issues such as social distancing which apply to the current lockdown in South Africa.
Fans can be comforted by familiar faces such as Matt Damon who plays a widowed husband, immune to the disease; Jude Law as a curious journalist; and Kate Winslet as an epidemic expert, working to understand the virus.
Together with the rest of the cast, these characters give a convincing performance that captures the chaos and panic of a world turned upside down by a global pandemic.
In an interview in 2011, on news website Uproxx, Contagion’s director Steven Soderbergh said, during his research he learnt that there was a strong possibility of a pandemic in the future as, “Everyone that [I] spoke to said, ‘we’re due for a big one’.”
People reacted to Sunday’s screening of the movie on social media:
#contagionmovie watched this with my wife. very educational. stay home and follow the rules.
we shall overcome
— Isaac Mmutlane (@Ike78105757) April 5, 2020
Fantasy emerged to reality how ironic. Everything we have been told of this virus, from it's spread, target, prevention , it's goddamn exactly the same to what's it's proclaimed in this movie. #ContagionMovie
— IG: @TI_LiwelaSA (@ToSsiE_SlidE) April 5, 2020
If you’re not afraid of drawing conclusions about how covid-19 ends in reality, then this movie is definitely recommended as a pastime during the lockdown.
Vuvu rating: 6.5/10
FEATURED IMAGE: The thriller, Contagion was released in 2011. Laurence Fishburne, Marion Cotillard and Matt Damon embody life during a global pandemic. Photo: Provided
- Wits Vuvuzela, Review: Queen Sono, Mzansi’s first homegrown Netflix original, March 2020
- CNN,‘Contagion’ vs. coronavirus: The film’s connections to a real life pandemic, April 2020
- Click here to watch the official trailer