Of all the people involved in the making of Steven Soderbergh’s SIDE EFFECTS, Dr. Sasha Bardey may have been the perfect interivew subject. The film is a psychological thriller of the first order, with the classic Hitchcockian motif of an innocent bystander being suddenly entangled in a fiendish plot that spells certain doom for that bystander. It’s all done very smartly, and with twists that would be a criminal offense to spoil.
So instead of giving away the film’s plot, we had a fascinating talk on January 14, 2013 during which he explained with clarity and grace why we believe some people and not others, the subconscious effect the media has on us all, and why sanity really is a relative thing. Or, as Lily Tomlin once said about reality, it’s a collective hunch. He also described the legal responsibilities of being a psychiatrist, and why he’s attracted to the forensic side of that profession.
SIDE EFFECTS is a psychological thriller about mental states, experimental drugs, and who to believe in any given situation. The film stars Jude Law as a psychiatrist caught up in the case of a killing that may or may not have been triggered as a side effect of a new medication, only to discover that the case, and his life, is suddenly much more complicated than he anticipated. The film co-stars Rooney Mara, Catharine Zeta-Jones, and Channing Tatum. It was directed by Steven Soderbergh from a script by Scott Z. Burns. Dr. Bardey is a forensic psychiatrist and former Director of Mental Health at Rikers Island. As well as being in private practice, he also provides consultations to various attorneys, prosecutor’s office and courts in the New York area at both a state and federal level, and was the go-to consultant for two LAW & ORDER franchises.