Rated 4.0

A mutant, highly deadly virus goes global almost overnight, killing millions while international health professionals race for a cure, and ordinary people try to cope with the mounting fear and panic. Director Steven Soderbergh and writer Scott Z. Burns eschew hysterical melodrama (e.g., 1995’s Outbreak) in favor of a matter-of-fact tracing of the disease from its first victim (Gwyneth Paltrow) through the far-flung efforts to cope with the spreading mortality. The movie is low-key in its approach with an unforced ring of truth, which only makes the growing tension of the narrative that much harder to shake off. First-rate writing and direction are immeasurably aided by the spot-on performances of a huge star-studded cast (Matt Damon, Laurence Fishburne, Jude Law, Marion Cotillard, Kate Winslet, etc.).