10 Things Contagion Predicted Perfectly (Or Not) About The Current Pandemic

The film that (almost) perfectly predicted our current situation...

Contagion Matt Damon
Warner Bros. Pictures

The current situation that has befallen the world has turned our day to day existence on its head, leaving us stuck inside, isolated from friends and extended family. While our daily lives have been indefinitely changed, these are changes that we should have seen coming.

The 2011 Steven Soderbergh directed film didn't exactly take the world by storm upon its release, in spite of an all star cast including Matt Damon, Gwyneth Paltrow, Laurence Fishburne, Jude Law and Kate Winslet. A significant reason for this is that the movie stays away from the cliched mass hysteria plot expected from this type of movie, instead going for a more grounded realistic approach.

While it may not have got the credit it deserved at the time, it's incredible ability to accurately predict our current situation makes the movie seriously worth another look. The acting is first rate throughout, but it is the manner in which it depicts an unfolding epidemic that makes it feel more like a documentary at times than a piece of fiction.

There are several aspects of the film which aren't exactly in line with current events, although many of these are due to the increased social media avenues of our present day. The mood of the piece is very fitting, with the initial sense of fear and foreboding generally giving way to a sense of hope and goodwill within the community, that has thankfully(so far) come true.

10. The Origin Of The Virus

Contagion Matt Damon
Warner Bros.

What It Gets Right

Contagion finishes with a final montage outlining the events that lead to the virus being created due to cross contamination. The montage displays a bat's regurgitation of a banana being eaten by a pig, leading to a cross contamination that created the virus. The movie then displays the effected pig being transported to a Hotel Kitchen where the transmission ultimately takes place.

As outlined in the Daily Telegraph on 30 March, the cause of the Corona virus is remarkably similar. The article states that 'The source of the coronavirus is believed to be a 'wet market' in Wuhan which sold both dead and live animals including fish and birds.' The article also reveals that bats are believed to be the original hosts, but were unlikely to be sold on the 'wet market'.

In other words, the bats are likely to have been flying by when it contaminated the meat for sale, just as occurs in the movie.

What It Doesn't

The movie actually goes a step further from what we know of our current situation, hypothesising that deforestation was the cause of the bat flying where it shouldn't. While there has been no evidence presented so far indicating this was a reason for the real world outbreak, it hasn't been disproved either.

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While he likes to know himself as the 'thunder from down under', Luke is actually just a big dork who loves all things sport, film, James Bond, Doctor Who and Karaoke. With all the suave and sophistication of any Aussie half way through a slab, Luke will critique every minute detail of films and shows from all eras- unless it's 1990's Simpsons episodes, because they're just perfect