28 Days Later

Yoshie Furuhashi furuhashi.1 at osu.edu
Tue Jul 1 20:40:16 MDT 2003


*****   June 27, 2003
Spared by a Virus but Not by Mankind
By A. O. SCOTT

When "28 Days Later" is not scaring you silly, it invites you to
reflect seriously on the fragility of modern civilization, which has
been swept away by a gruesome and highly contagious virus while the
hero lies peacefully in a coma. Four weeks after a laboratory full of
rage-infected monkeys has been liberated by some tragically misguided
animal rights militants, the whole of London - and possibly every
place else - has been substantially depopulated. The churches and
alleyways are littered with corpses, and fast-moving, red-eyed
"infecteds" roam the streets looking for prey. Even the rats flee
from them, and the few healthy humans face a Hobbesian battle for
survival.

But what is most striking, and most chilling, about the early scenes
of this post-apocalyptic horror show, directed by Danny Boyle and
written by Alex Garland, is the eerie, echoing emptiness. Stumbling
out of his hospital bed, Jim (Cillian Murphy), a former bike
messenger, encounters a familiar metropolis that has been almost
entirely stripped of life. Postcard images of the Thames, London
Bridge and the dome of St. Paul's Cathedral take on a lurid, funereal
glow. After centuries of bustle and enterprise, what remain are
vacant buildings, overturned double-decker buses, looted vending
machines and cheap souvenir replicas of Big Ben scattered across the
sidewalk....

Jim, it turns out, is not entirely alone. Before long, he and some
other survivors - a prickly loner named Selena (Naomie Harris); an
affable dad, Frank (Brendan Gleeson); and Frank's adolescent
daughter, Hannah (Megan Burns) - have formed a tiny band of nomads,
traveling the English countryside in a big, black taxi and
discovering that caring for one another is not just a residue of
extinct social norms, but also an expression of the survival instinct.

Other expressions, as you might expect, are not so inspiring. Through
the silence comes a radio signal, a voice promising that salvation
and the answer to the virus lie with a group of soldiers just north
of Manchester. They are led by Maj. Henry West (Christopher
Eccleston), who seems to have graduated from a "Lord of the Flies"
military academy. He and his men are on hand to demonstrate that
those who offer protection and security can be even more dangerous
than the virus-crazed zombies they keep at bay....

<http://www.nytimes.com/2003/06/27/movies/27DAYS.html>   *****
--
Yoshie

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