If you have not seen the movie Contagion, then it might not be the best idea to watch it right now, unless you do not mind freaking yourself out.
The movie, which is like a sneak peek into the very possible future amidst the current Covid-19 epidemic, has become one of the hottest commodities streaming on online sites like iTunes and Amazing Prime.
The entire premise of the film is a deadly virus called MEV-1. Gwyneth Paltrow’s character is shown taking a business trip to Hong Kong, not knowing that she is infected. In a single month, the virus kills 2.5 million people in America and eventually brings the total count to 26 million worldwide. But despite the fact that the movie is indeed fiction, it does not make it any less scary for those watching it again, or possibly for the first time.
Director Steven Soderbergh’s portrayal of how devastating this type of virus could be in real life is still somehow what the world is experiencing now almost 10 years later.
From the way he depicts how fatal an illness it is, to killing off Paltrow’s character within the first 20 minutes, to how quickly the disease is spread from person to person, to the way the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) tries to handle the devastating annihilation it has all over the world, it is a true illustration of the kind of calamitous effects that Covid-19 can have on this already fragile planet, and even more so on its vulnerable inhabitants.
The world’s new reality is that while scientists, doctors, laboratories and pharmaceutical companies are scrambling to find a vaccine for this lethal virus, the coronavirus has still managed to infect more than 100,000 people worldwide, killed at least 3,300, shut down schools, led to major travel bans from one country to another, and basically taken over every single person’s day-to-day life as the world tries to cope with the new norm of Covid-19.
Of course, being the Hollywood movie that it is, Contagion goes as far as showing how Matt Damon, who plays the character of Paltrow’s grieving widow, cannot find a funeral home willing to take his wife’s dead body.
It also shows mass graves being dug to deal with the bodies of millions who have died from MEV-1, quarantines and curfews, and citizens looting stores for food and supplies. And while the movie happens to be fictional, true-to-life Covid-19 realities do not actually feel too far behind, instilling genuine fear in many.
So with the world in a state of uncertainty, and countries clamouring to figure out how to navigate another murderous and fast-spreading virus, why are so many turning on their TV sets to scare themselves silly for 1 hour and 46 minutes?
Writer and Moonlight director Barry Jenkins, who watched the movie recently, said: “I was really curious to see how well it would line up to what is happening right now. It was shocking. It felt like I was watching a documentary that has all these movie stars playing real people.”
So if you are not freaked out enough and you decide to join the bandwagon of Contagion viewers, then just remember that there are a few useful pointers that you can actually use from this blockbuster hit.
First, seek medical attention if you feel any symptoms at all of the coronavirus. Second, watch the local news and follow the instructions of your city or town officials. Third, do not give in to social media hype but rather go to trusted sites and news channels to get the correct information and, lastly but most importantly, wash your hands and practice proper hygiene.
Who would have thought that something as simple as that could seriously save thousands, if not millions, of lives?