Side Effects

Rated 4.0

Drawing plot parallels between insider trading and drug-company greed, this tale of comfortable yet variously depressed Manhattanites seems at first to lean toward deadpan satire. Then come the shades of retro thriller noir, and the mind games between a well-meaning dupe and a foxy femme fatale. As to the who's who and what's what, that's best revealed by the movie itself, but it may help to know that key players include Jude Law, Rooney Mara, Channing Tatum and Catherine Zeta-Jones. Also, the director is Steven Soderbergh at his coolly mercurial best and in that exciting middle ground between experiment and entertainment, where formal playfulness goes very well with great faces. Ultimately, this could be a movie that's really only about the lethal dreamy beauty of its stars. Soderbergh says he's quitting film after this, but he's made similar threats before. Maybe he's just depressed or hiding something.