It's the dark comic moments and the film's sci-fi, B-movie, race-to-develop-a-vaccine subplot that prevent Contagion from being a gloomy two hours in the dark. That and Soderbergh's delight in characters.
Takes great pains to present its situations realistically, and includes a lot of intelligent speculation about what sort of political, economic and ethical questions would be raised by such a disaster.
By the time this globe-hopping, movie-star-crammed disaster saga - directed with petrifying efficiency by Steven Soderbergh - comes full circle, you'll never want to touch a subway pole or elevator button or ATM again.
Soderbergh knows exactly how to dredge up the dread, showing us in several scenes the many things we touch - including our own faces, noses and mouths - during the course of a day and the dangers they contain.