ITV aired pandemic film Contagion during coronavirus lockdown and and it hasn't gone down well

Moya Lothian-McLean@moya_lm
Friday 27 March 2020 11:45
Showbiz

At times like this, light entertainment can be a real saving grace.

Which is why it seems like everyone is watching the likes of Tiger King on Netflix or raiding the archives of the newly launched Disney+.

For TV channels, choosing what to air can take on a new significance as people look to their little black boxes to provide comfort or information.

This is why ITV2’s decision to air Steven Soderbergh’s 2011 pandemic film Contagion last night was an… interesting choice.

For those who haven’t seen it yet, Contagion tells the story of how a virus spreads across the world from Hong Kong.

It covers issues like how unprepared governments across the globe are for such a situation, the lockdowns that ensue, the economic crash, stockpiling and the race to find a vaccine.

It even features an influential blogger who gets arrested by the FBI after making money from falsely claiming he has a cure.

Prior to coronavirus, Contagion was already being praised for how accurate it was in depicting the spread of a new illness and what would happen in that scenario.

At the time of its release, the New Scientist said it was “hard to name many Hollywood blockbusters that are as invested in the realities of science as Contagion”.

The level of accurate detail in the film – which includes engaging explanations of R0 (‘R-naught’) numbers aka the calculation for how contagious a disease is – is thanks to heavy consultation with scientific experts like Dr Ian Lipkin, the director of the Center for Infection and Immunity at Columbia University.

And for viewers who caught the movie on ITV2 last night, it was a jarring, if informative watch.

Some were stunned by how “uncanny” it was at mirroring the events happening now.

One person’s dad decided to throw a family movie night with a twist…

Another Twitter user said they regretted their viewing choice.

Others pointed out a few elements that didn’t match up to current experience.

Some didn’t think it was in good taste.

But others said the decision could actually help to inform the public of just how much is at stake.

Ultimately, it might be best to avoid a watch if you’re nervous.

But if you’re the kind of person who thinks knowledge is power?

ITV2 have you covered.

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