When I first saw this movie, I was ten, and even then I liked it. The script itself housed very funny one liners, particularly form Spacey's character. But I was amazed at how fast the film itself moved. In the first, you are following these scientists going to Africa to find a virus outbreak. Next thing you know, you're watching a helicopter go head on with a plane.
First comes the acting. Dustin Hoffman is stupendous as always, Rene Russo plays Robbie with realism, Kevin Spacey makes for a good humor man, Cuba Gooding Jr. pulls off the green man trying to earn respect, and being a bad-ass at the same time. As always, Morgan Freeman is wonderful. Any role I see him in is a role I remember. He's always different, too, neigh does he ever repeat in characterization. Sometimes he's funny, sometimes he's incredibly serious. Last but not least comes Donald Sutherland, one of my favorite actors to date. He can jump into the shoes of any character, including the general trying to protect a secret he knows he shouldn't. One actor whom I particularly enjoyed watching was J.T. Walsh. It's a great shame he died, I liked all his stuff from Breakdown to Pleasantville. He is only in Outbreak for about five minutes, but he has one of my favorite monologues in the history of film. He commands attention as he speaks.
Next comes the story itself. A very to-date story. A one all can relate to because it could very well happen. A virus from Africa makes its way here and begins infecting all, without a cure. I liked that there was a hero aspect in Sam Daniels. he was the tracker, the hunter, the curist. Coupled with the story comes the dialogue. Rich, under-appreciated, funny, and serious all wrapped into one. As I said before, the monologue for Walsh is brilliant. Many lines are etched into my mind, and are often used in conversation. Too bad no one knows what I'm saying.
I'm a bit surprised this film didn't bode too well with audiences. Mayhap they didn't want to see what could happen, who knows? My only complaint is character endings. You insinuate what happens to McClintock and Ford, also Sam and Robbie, but we don't ever see Casey again. I could infer that he dies, but he could very well have survived. I wish there was a way to know.
Finally comes Wolfgang Peterson's remarkable direction. I've been a huge fan of his movies since this movie, including Air Force One, Enemy Mine, not much for Perfect Storm, but his upcoming Ender's Game should be good.
At the end, I felt a certain sense of relief and wonderment. But I have to say the soundtrack is rather exquisite. I have always liked James Newton Howard, and though the cd is short in time, it's a time I cannot forget. Particularly the end theme when it's chopper vs. plane time. What a song, keeps me in suspense every time. I like songs that are taken for film trailers as well. It's still too bad not a lot of people know about this movie.
9 out of 10