Contagion Poster
Contagion is a 2011 thriller film centered on the threat posed by a deadly disease and an international team of doctors contracted by the CDC to deal with the outbreak. The film itself follows the rapid progress of a lethal airborne virus that kills within days. As the fast-moving epidemic grows, the worldwide medical community races to find a cure and control the panic that spreads faster than the virus itself. As the virus spreads around the world, ordinary people struggle to survive in a society coming apart. A lady named Beth Emhoff goes to Hong Kong on a business trip to participate in a groundbreaking ceremony for a new factory. While in Hong Kong, Beth visits a casino and plays a dice game with colleagues from the plant. Once the ceremony is complete, Beth flies back to her husband, Thomas Emhoff, and daughter. Later that night Beth collapses on the floor in an what appears to be a seizure. Beth is rushed to a Minneapolis-area hospital for treatment and succumbs to an unknown cause. Thomas is informed that his wife has passed away and is asked to come in the next day to give information regarding possible causes of Beth's death. Thomas' only assistance is that Beth complained of jet lag. Dr. Ellis Cheever of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention leads an investigation into thirty-two disease related deaths, all exhibiting similar symptoms. At first, suspicions of a man-made disease are discussed, only to be discredited by Dr. Cheever, who alleges the avian flu has mutated itself to afflict humans on its own. Investigations into cures via treatment protocols or vaccines prove fruitless. As the contagion spreads, hearings are set up to discuss possible solutions, airports within the state are shut down, and the national guard is deployed to Minneapolis to cordon off the city, set up treatment centers and provide general order. In an effort to quell public concern, Dr. Cheever appears on a news talk show to discuss the disease; only to find out that the show hypothesizes a billion person outbreak around the globe. Dr. Erin Mears is stuck in her hotel room in Minneapolis when the National Guard arrives to cordon off the city. Dr. Mears contacts Dr. Cheever for assistance in egressing the city. Dr. Cheever attempts to mount an effort but is thwarted by others viewing his efforts as a nepotistic play. Meanwhile, fearing the cordoning efforts Thomas and his daughter head north from the Minneapolis/St. Paul area east to the Wisconsin state line. Arriving at the Minnesota/Wisconsin border, Thomas and his daughter encounter a choke point manned by National Guard troops preventing anyone from leaving the state. Thomas returns home to handle the aftermath of surviving in a society coming apart. At the CDC, the contagion is identified as having evolved into an airborne virus and forces the adoption of bio-hazard gear by those involved with entering Minneapolis. With the multitude of deaths, clean-up efforts are begun in Minneapolis to bury the dead. The outbreak is eventually determined to have evaded the cordon zone and has become a global virus that kills within days.


Directed by

Steven Soderbergh

Produced by

Michael Shamberg
Stacey Sher
Gregory Jacobs


Marion Cotillard
Matt Damon
Laurence Fishburne
Jude Law
Gwyneth Paltrow
Kate Winslet


Warner Bros.

Distributed by

Warner Bros.

Release Date

September 9, 2011

Running time

105 minutes


United States