Between Netflix and the inability of modern Americans to behave in public places, I don’t really see a lot of movies in the theater (unless I can manage to catch a weekday late afternoon showing). So I’m often late to movies. But being a microbiologist, who has worked in public health, I did put Contagion into my movie queue and recently watched. The short review: it’s a very good movie.
It’s suspenseful, with good acting–and the cast doesn’t crowd each other out, even though it’s filled with excellent actors. But what I really liked is that they got the science essentially right. Yes, there are a few shortcuts to make the plot move: the Public Health Service isn’t involved (no uniforms anyway), the conferences would involve more experts, and the offices and computer software are a little snazzier looking than in real life (then again, Matt Damon and Gwyneth Paltrow are also better looking than most people too). But this is a movie, not a WHO planning paper. In fact, I could find only one minor problem:
R0</sub?, the basic reproductive rate, is written on a whiteboard as R-0". On the other hand, it's actually described accurately without being incomprehensible.
That’s it. A good movie that doesn’t punt the science or make a biologist cringe. Who coulda thunk it?