* Contagion: Incredibly intense and fast-moving; it’s reminiscent in that respect of The Social Network. I was never bored. It’s also scarier than any slasher movie and does an extraordinary job of putting large-scale social events like disease into a narrative context. The preceding sentence makes Contagion sound boring, but it’s not, and very few works of narrative art accomplish anything like this.
Contagion demonstrates that Hollywood can, in fact, make good, original movies, though they don’t come along all that frequently.
* The Usual Suspects: Holds up over time and still has impressive narrative complexity. Rewards re-watching mostly because, knowing the trick ending, one sees the lead-up.
Traffic: Extremely intense and socially aware. Both it and Contagion seem highly informed by economics in a way that’s rare for movies. Somewhat melodramatic, but not in an overly distracting way. I wish more movies were this intense. The script is “woven” together effectively.