28 Days Later

28 Days Later

***

Reviewed by: Jennie Kermode

Unsurprisingly, this latest slice of British survivalist science fiction doesn't live up to the hype, its power to astound being based in the fact that it's offering mainstream audiences something they haven't seen before (but which everybody else has). It's well made, however, and solidly acted, and overall well worth going to see.

It is the second of this year's blockbuster stealth zombie movies, but its zombies are fast and agile, making them scarier than the traditional type. They stand in for the plants in what is otherwise a fairly straightforward adaptation of Day Of The Triffids, at least in terms of its central characters, its plot, and its political context. Danny Boyle has stamped his personal mark all over it, with some beautiful cinematography, a loud soundtrack, which is in turns stirring and incongruous, and an intensely realistic, unglamorous approach to appearances and dialogue. This makes his blatant thieving from Night Of The Comet more acceptable, as he adds a refreshing edge to proceedings.

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Focusing on the experiences of survivors after a hideous plague which drove people, well, rabid (there are several nods to Cronenberg here), 28 Days Later is essentially a parable centred on the notion that people have always been killing one another and probably always will, diseased or not.

This format always presents problems with pacing and with lapses into cliche, most of which Boyle handles well, being unafraid to run with them when he has no other choice. At times his dramatic use of lighting goes too far, so that action sequences become inappropriately confused. Several interesting tangents (for instance, the heroine's chance to contemplate for herself what she'd be prepared to put up with in exchange for safety) are cut off rather abruptly. The very end of the film is odd, and seems tacked-on, though clearly there was something there before it; this makes me curious, since I didn't find the film nearly so bleak as test audiences had persuaded me to expect. An interesting thing, but it might have been more so.

Reviewed on: 27 Jun 2007
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28 Days Later packshot
Survivors run from infected killers after apocalyptic rage virus devastates Britain.
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Read more 28 Days Later reviews:

David Stanners ***
Angus Wolfe Murray *

Director: Danny Boyle

Writer: Alex Garland

Starring: Cillian Murphy, Naomie Harris, Christopher Eccleston, Brendan Gleeson, Megan Burns, Noah Huntley

Year: 2002

Runtime: 113 minutes

BBFC: 18 - Age Restricted

Country: UK

Festivals:

EIFF 2011

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