Wednesday, June 13, 2007

28 Weeks Later

Photo of 28 Weeks Later film poster

Not having seen 28 Days Later, I came to the prequel 28 Weeks Later knowing only what I’d read in a couple of reviews in the papers.

The opening scenes show a couple Dan and Alice barricaded into a house, lit by candles, running out of food, fearful of what’s outside, and hoping that their children—who were away on a school trip when the incident broke—will be safe. But the virus-laden attackers come, bringing with them an onslaught of cowardice and self-preservation.

It’s brutal, violent stuff. Blood and gore, slashing and ripping. Not quite zombies since the Infected are still alive. Not for the feint hearted, and easier to take sitting near the back of the cinema in a detached frame of mind. And occasionally, the bloodbath becomes faintly comical.

There was a virus. Horrible things happened. Everything locked down. After 18 weeks the Infected had starved to death. 24 weeks later, Nato and US troops had arrived to start reconstruction. The Isle of Dogs is District 1, the safe area being used to house survivors. Reminiscent of Baghdad’s Green Zone. There’s an overall lack of humanity as the military control the operation and surveillance cameras are everywhere.

The couple’s children have survived. Andy and Tammy are reunited with their father who is reluctant to fully explain how their mother died.

Like all disaster movies (including the recent Sunshine), it only takes one single quite action, reasonable in its own right, but enough to start toppling over the dominos. Maybe it's when Don opened the door at the start. Or maybe it's when the children escape and find their mother Alice still alive. It’s a bit of a spoiler, but given that it’s a sequel, you know what’s going to happen already. The mother is carrying the virus, but doesn’t exhibit the symptoms and seems immune. But she wants revenge.

A new outbreak brings catastrophic consequences. But can be it contained without killing the innocent? Is there any room for compassion when the risks are so high?

It was fun to pick out the film’s locations. The long corridor down to the domestic gates at Stansted Airport. It must have been an early start the morning they filmed such a deserted Canary Wharf. Watch out for the beautiful shot as the brother and sister ride a Domino’s moped across Tower Bridge.

Good film. Standby for 28 Months Later (though it might be called Vingt huit mois plus tard) ... not sure I'll have the stomach to go and see it.

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