'Contagion' – What Did You Think?

There really is nothing like a sprawling film covering a complex topic directed by Steven Soderbergh. Soderbergh's Contagion hits theaters today boasting a cavalcade of big film stars, all trying to make sense of a world  being torn apart by an infectious virus.

So with the insane amounts of talent behind it, does the film live up to its promise? Does it measure up to that other Soderbergh epic, Traffic? And most importantly, does Gwyneth Paltrow make it out of the film okay? Hit the jump for some of my thoughts and feel free to share your own in the comments. Assume SPOILERS lie after the jump and in the comments.

When you create a film like this, you're inevitably trading depth for scope. With Contagion, we only get snippets of each one of these character's lives and aren't able to invest in the characters in the same way as we might in a smaller film. Despite (or maybe because of) this, Contagion is riveting all the way through, an engrossing look at how inadequately the world is equipped to deal with a biological force of this nature.

This film is gorgeously shot and features some breathtaking performances, as well as a propulsive score by Cliff Martinez. But it's hampered by some thin characters and story and as a result is forced to paint with some pretty broad brush strokes (the Stockholm-Syndrome-inspired resolution for Marion Cotillard's character comes to mind). Unfortunately, Contagion never becomes more than the sum of its parts. But each one of those parts is so damn good that I'd recommend this film to anyone with no hesitation.

What about you guys? What did you think of the film?