Cinema constantly gives us works of fiction that end up getting closer to reality in some moments. Films about hackers, environmental disasters, political crises and health problems have already filled movie theaters and, at times, almost seemed prophetic. And the most recent works that embark on this group are those that talk about viral pandemics.
Contagion, The 12 Monkeys, World War Z and so many other films have already worked with the theme, showing different types of viruses and their possible consequences – which go far beyond high mortality rates. And among them, Epidemic was one of the productions that once again gained prominence, becoming one of the most watched on Netflix in recent months. But, why did this film become so emblematic? And was it possible to learn anything from him?
Epidemic is a Warner Bros. production, starring Dustin Hoffman, Rene Russo and Morgan Freeman, as well as the participation of Donald Sutherland and Cuba Gooding Jr .. The film follows an army doctor who is researching a disease in Africa that quickly kills people infected people. A few years after the virus was discovered, it is accidentally taken to the United States, where it reaches the population of a small town that needs to be placed in isolation to prevent it from spreading to the rest of the country.
Although less accurate than films like Contagion, the film has an interesting approach, like the transmission from a monkey to a human. This jump between hosts is quite common, as is the case with Ebola, rabies and, now, Sars-CoV-2. These diseases can go on for years without affecting humans, until the virus mutates and the consequence could be what we are facing with the new coronavirus pandemic.
In addition to a new virus, the film also has several sequences that show the impact of a viral disease on a country’s health system. With doctors needing to protect themselves as much as possible to avoid the risk of contamination, while being overwhelmed with new cases. There is also an impressive sequence (and very exaggerated, as was common in the films of the 1990s) of two families trying to break through the isolation of the city, imposed by the army.