It's very tempting to begin this write-up with yet another long lament on director Steven Soderbergh's early retirement, but I'll keep it short: dear Steve, this isn't the one to go out on. It's good and everything, but, it's not the one to go out on. Side Effects is a curious concoction, a straight-playing guilty pleasure that lulls you into a procedural-style stability before introducing a touch of sensationalist camp. Perhaps it is its own side effect, the result of a long bender in which Soderbergh and writer Scott Burns overdosed on Verhoeven and Polanski and Fatal Attraction and then decided to resurrect Jude Law's crazed character from the equally paranoid Contagion . It's a dizzying ride, surprising in ways that place it in a class just above your average thriller in spite of its modest trappings. Soderbergh has, of late, become a director interested in taking common newspaper narratives and fracturing them in ways that speak to our cultural attentions in ways both entertaining and quite revealing. Where Contagion fussed over national health and The Informant! looked at food and business, Side Effects begins as a film concerned with the chemicals we use to control our bodies...and ends as something very, very different. I'd urge you, actually, to stop reading if you haven't seen the film. While I don't intend on revealing any of its secrets, absolute ignorance is recommended for the optimal viewing experience.