Film Reviews


By • Jun 27th, 2003 •

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Fox Searchlight Pictures with DNA Films and the Film Council

Warning: Spoilers necessary to dope out the stupid story!

An animal virus, nurtured in a lab and released by animal rights activists, wrecks havoc on London. 28 days later a young man named Jim (Cillian Murphy) wakes up in a deserted hospital. Apparently, he has been in a coma. He wanders around an empty city still in a fog. Where is everybody? He does not know what has happened and does not bother to read the newspapers littered around. He is attacked by feral zombies and saved by Selena (Naomie Harris) and Mark (Noah Huntley). They explain a few things. Selena is a warrior, very, very tough, and lets Jim know that she will do anything, even kill, to survive. She has been good at surviving through this escalating nightmare. She heard there was a case of infection in Paris and a few in the U.S. They might be the only uninfected people left on the planet by now. She summarily kills Mark when he becomes infected fighting off a zombie.

Selena and Jim walk around without a plan. They meet Frank (Brendan Gleeson) and his young daughter Hannah (Megan Burns). Frank plays a radio military broadcast that states a cure has been found. They travel north to a well-stocked fortress led by Major Henry West (Christopher Eccleston). The soldiers have clean water, food, big weapons, and a tower. But for 28 years – I mean days – the soldiers have been without women. Henry’s broadcast was meant to coax out desperate, hungry women who have been running away from flesh eating zombies.

Let’s review the conundrum facing Selena and Hannah. You can be infected by contact with zombies, get savagely killed then eaten by said zombies, or become Eve 2 and Eve 3 servicing a small group of attractive young soldiers who will protect you, feed you, and give you nice dresses to wear. There appears to be a compelling need to start the rapidly declining human race again. Serve Mankind or fight off horny soldiers then go off on your own looking for shelter?

I kept thinking how nice Selena’s red ball gown was and how the compound’s perimeter was so well guarded. With a little cleverness, these two women could become goddesses.

For some far-flung stupid reason, Jim kills all the uninfected soldiers so Selena and Hannah do not have to subject themselves to these sex-starved survivors with guns. His objective satisfied, they leave the fortified outpost for a destination unknown.

So the story by screenwriter Alex Garland falls apart and so does the happy ending. How does a story with such a dark premise suddenly brighten up with hope? Would the rest of the world leave uninfected Londoners to roam around being hunted by zombies?

I liked the look of look of the film and it’s well directed by Danny Boyle but collapses with an unsatisfactory denouement.

Jim: Cillian Murphy
Selena: Naomie Harris
Maj. Henry West: Christopher Eccleston
Frank: Brendan Gleeson
Hannah: Megan Burns
Mark: Noah Huntley
Jones: Leo Bill
Mitchell: Ricci Hartnett

Director: Danny Boyle
Screenwriter: Alex Garland
Producer: Andrew Macdonald
Director of photography: Anthony Dod Mantle
Production designer: Mark Tildesley
Editor: Chris Gill
Music: John Murphy
Costume designer: Rachel Fleming

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