Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Movie Review: Outbreak (1995)

Outbreak is clearly an allegory for the job crisis in the United States. As far back as 1995, visionary director Wolfgang Petersen foresaw the shadow of chronic unemployment looming menacingly over the horizon, and he hired Hollywood elites to act out his nightmare in a world where the cute, fluffy monkey from Friends represents the pernicious effects of globalization upon the human psyche. The scene where the monkey spat into Patient Zero's mouth vividly illustrates the toxicity of the monster we've created through individual abdication of responsibility, corporate greed, government deregulation, environmental degradation, and general effed-upness. Unlike the disease in the movie, unemployment is everywhere, rather than confined in a small, convenient location where I could have saved everyone by hiring them to be my maids or cat sitters. Wages are adoration and respect.

In all seriousness, Outbreak is a terrific movie with excellent performances (everyone else's subtle and nuanced take on their characters balanced out Dustin Hoffman's foaming at the mouth); a thrilling soundtrack; brilliant cinematography; and a great script. Was it manipulative? Of course. Did I mind? Nope. Not when it has this dialogue:

Kevin Spacey: How many brain cells did I lose?
Dustin Hoffman: About a billion.
Kevin Spacey: So I'm only as smart as you.


I am now primed for Contagion. Bring it on, new semi-realistic epidemic movie!