Aneesh Chaganty

Movie #189 Outbreak

In Uncategorized on April 24, 2011 at 7:07 PM

Movie #189 Outbreak

(1995, US, d. Wolfgang Petersen)

Featuring an all-star cast, Outbreak is one hell of a scary film. For some reason, over the years I’ve realized my biggest fear is global disasters – basically, anything that has the potential to cripple large societies of people (obviously I would have to be involved). Outbreak does a great job of capitalizing on this fear of mine as well as a fear shared by millions of first-world citizens: that somewhere, deep in the middle of Africa exists a lethal virus capable of mutilating hard-working American citizens and bringing the safety and well-being of the country to a halt. Petersen’s film is an exceptional action-thriller. Edited well and acted magnificently (what else do you expect when you put Kevin Spacey, Dustin Hoffman, Donald Sutherland, Morgan Freeman, Rene Russo, and Cuba Gooding Jr in the same room?), Outbreak is a film that also works well despite its sometimes unnecessary action-movie stunts. But what makes this film really work is not the action, but the characters. The film’s best asset is that it knows the movie is not about the virus but those fighting for it. Every character here feels real and feels three dimensional. A good venue for Petersen to show off the grandiose “schematics” he usually lays down in his films (minus the absolutely atrocious remake of Poseidon), Outbreak is not the movie that usually gets mentioned in any top film of the decade anthology, but in my opinion, deserves to be there. Sometimes horrifying in its depiction of the virus and in its effects, there is a particular sequence in the film that really stands out: Early in the film, we watch the virus travel from person to person in the fictional town of Cedar Creek, California. A kiss, a cough, a laugh and the movies are just a few keywords that highlight a really powerful montage that occurs in the first act. If you’re looking for a mainstream thriller, this one fits the bill.

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