Side Effects looks like it's going to be an expose of America's prescription-drug addiction issues, before it swerves nicely into thriller territory, and a seemingly minor character becomes the protagonist.
It's the nuances that lift it into the upper echelon, especially the subtle way it poses questions about our growing dependence on psychopharmaceuticals and the motivations of the doctors who so freely prescribe them.
Even when it twists back to Hitchcockland, there's more than enough lingering spookiness about a culture's dependence on prescription drugs and psychiatry to wrench Side Effects away from being a mere trickster-tale.
A masterful double-bluff. What starts as a taut, topical drama about medicated America becomes a classic, twisted neo-noir that sees Soderbergh pushing aside on-the-nose themes in favour of sheer entertainment.
One moment, we're watching an enthralling exposé of the modern pharmaceutical industry; the next we're reeling from some well-timed mystery-thriller shocks. And Soderbergh, aided by a sharp script and superb cast, wrong-foots us all the way.