Deadly medicine: Side Effects exposes darker side of prescription drugs

The music tells us what kind of movie Side Effects is going to be. It coils beneath what seems like a realistic plot and whispers that something haunted and possessed is going on. Imagine music for a sorcery-related plot and then dial it down to ominous forebodings. Without Thomas Newman's score, "Side Effects" would be a lesser film, even another film.

We meet a young woman named Emily (Rooney Mara). Her husband, Martin (Channing Tatum), has been released after four years in prison for insider trading. Don't weep for him. At a party, he explains, "It's the culture." They resume. They dine. They make eager love. Things don't go for her as smoothly as they would seem. She is referred to a psychiatrist named Banks (Jude Law). She's been under care before, with a shrink named Victoria Siebert (Catherine Zeta-Jones), but Banks thinks Emily may get good results from a new drug called Ablixa. Meanwhile, a drug company has paid him $50,000 to study it during the licensing period.



This Banks has issues. A Brit in Manhattan, he's divorced from a dubious woman (Vinessa Shaw). He immigrated to the United States, he explains, because in the U.K., when you enter psychiatric treatment, it's assumed you may get sicker, and over here, it's assumed you're getting well. Naturally that attitude tilts him toward pushing pills. Emily's use of Ablixa causes some alarming behavior, including a murder while in a blackout, and she's committed to a mental hospital.

Banks shows few signs of empathy...(READ FULL REVIEW)