Review of 'Outbreak'

outbreak.jpg We start with a flashback to Zaire in 1997 where a virus with a 100% mortality rate has infected and killed most of the inhabitants of a remote village. The village is destroyed by a fire-bomb to avoid the disease spreading but flash-forward to the present day and an infected monkey is taken from the forest and smuggled to the United States and the bodies quickly start piling up…Colonel Sam Daniels (Dustan Hoffman) is a virologist in a level 4 containment facility for the United States Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases (USAMRIID), located at Fort Detrick in Maryland, who is called into assess the disease. He quickly grasps the severity of the situation but little does he know his boss, General Billy Ford (Morgan Freeman) was involved with the original outbreak in Zaire and the military has other plans for the virus. Sam is taken off the case but he is determined to stop it in it's tracks by calling on the support of his soon-to-be-former wife Robby Keough (Rene Russo) who has just landed a job and the Centre for Disease Control (CDC) in Washington. As the virus spreads the military quarantines a whole town starting a panic…will they be able to stop the spread of Motaba to the rest of the country?

This film is just as frightening today as it was when it was originally released in 1995. I think of the outbreak of Ebola a few years ago in Africa. I think the scariest thing is that this film feels very, very realistic. I remember seeing this for the first time in a cinema with the one scene from the film that shows the virus spreading through a cinema with an infected person coughing…(shudder).

The acting is first notch from the A-list cast with Hoffman, Freeman and Russo play off one another incredibly well. The dialogue seems very natural as the tension builds throughout the well-written and paced story. There is a sense of doom from the very beginning as things go from bad to worse then even worse than that. An amazing film that I think serves as a stark warning of something that seems all too realistic a possibility - We cannot be complacent about the threats that mother nature throws at us.

An amazing film that keeps the viewer riveted to the screen all the way to the end…If you haven't seen it, honestly, you should.

Rating: “I have absolutely no complaints”

Review Date: 2016-06-11

Directed by: Wolfgang Petersen

Studio: Warner Brothers

Year: 1995

Length: 127 minutes

Genre: Action/Adventure

Other reviewed films by Wolfgang Petersen: