A highly contagious, rapidly killing hemorrhagic mutation of bird flu slaughters people in Hongkong. Preventing its spread is virtually hopeless, as soon is proved in a US country village, which is strictly quarantined by the military. The White House prefers to 'prevent panic', even overrules zealous governor Mike Newsome and reneges earlier emergency plans. Written by
Surprisingly accurate, ending was a bit disappointing
As a professional business continuity planner, one who has worked extensively in the pandemic flu planning field, let me tell you now that this movie is not about an impossible doomsday scenario. The H5N1 virus is a very real threat and every government on every level has been preparing for it for years. What was pleasantly surprising about this movie (which, frankly, I did not expect very much from) was its accuracy - both in portraying facts and possible situations. They did a very good job of giving background on the pandemics of the past - 1918, 57, and 68. They also showed the infections coming in waves, just as they have in past pandemics and in all probability will when the next one hits.
Watching this movie was like watching the scenario that plays in the head of every pandemic flu planner when they write response protocols and imagine how quickly this could move and how devastating it could be. I know I've seen this movie many times in my own head already. The fact is that it is a matter of "when", not "if". Historically, we have had pandemics on average once every 30 years (which means we are currently overdue for one). It is enormously unlikely that after an established record like that, we would never have one again. It may not be the H5N1, but it's very likely a pandemic flu will happen again.
The acting was good, especially Joely Richardson's performance. The characters were well-developed and watching the communities after the first wave hit brought tears to my eyes a few times. The bravery and resiliency of the American people is truly amazing. Scott Cohen also did a very real, believable job as Governor Newsome.
This movie is definitely scary, but what's more scary is being unprepared. Health departments in most large cities are developing or running education campaigns for the public to create awareness for common-sense precautions, as they say in the movie, so hopefully people will start paying attention to the ads that tell them to cover their coughs, wash their hands, and stay home when they're sick.
On a final note, despite being quite impressed with the quality of this movie, the ending was a little disappointing. I was hoping for something a bit more resolutory, but I suppose it would have been difficult to end the movie on a very cheery note.
Definitely worth your time to see!
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