Side Effects (2013) ****

Despite giving Side Effects 4-star rating, this film is a miss. It starts as an intriguing drama, addressing issues of ethics related to the use of medication, but midway through, it drops reality behind as the plot turns into a thriller. As an audience I was left feeling cheated. I like a good thriller but the first part of the film was too long for a murder mystery setup, prepping us, the viewers, for an intellectual investigation of morals, margin of error during clinical trials, and who should be held responsible when things go awfully wrong. But that never happens. As interesting questions of ethics and moral start to surface, writer Scott Burns and director Steven Soderbergh drop the ball on that aspect of the film and busy themselves with typical thriller twists and turns.
With the above said, Side Effects is still an outstanding film. It is highly engaging, wonderfully acted -- especially by its convincing two leads Jude Law and Rooney Mara. The ending is a little too neatly wrapped up, another contradiction to the mesmerizing realistic manner in which the film opens. Still, if you are willing to turn a blind eye on some of these issues, Side Effects offers an appealing afternoon at the movies.