28 Days Later
Posted 28 June 2003 - 05:42 PM
Thanks, Alan, for working so hard to put the pieces back together.
I'm enjoying Chicago-land. Stef is just as scrappy and scrawny as he seems. Later on I'll meet Asher, and tomorrow MLeary and Parks. Wild.
Posted 29 June 2003 - 09:07 AM
Asher liked it somewhat. (I think that's accurate. Asher?)
And I loved it!!
It's a genre film, through and through. If you told Danny Boyle that the film is "formulaic", he'd probably say "Duh" and he might even say "Thank you." But this is SO MUCH MORE than a zombie movie.
It's as realistic and troubling an apocalypse film as I've seen. Sure, the zombies are over-the-top, but the idea of a disastrous disease spreading quickly... how the disease gets loose... and how people respond once it's rampant... It's chilling. The handheld video footage lends to the immediacy of the storytelling. A lot of Blair Witch tactics being used... "Less is more" is the rule for most (but not all ) of the film.
But I hated Blair Witch because it aimed merely to disturb; it had very little to offer as far as meaningful storytelling. This was different. I felt for these characters. I liked them. I was convinced by every single member of the cast. The writing was strong - there's a great "first kiss" line, and only a couple of big one-liners, but those are good too. I was satisfied with the ending... it recalls another one of my favorite films, but if I say which one I'll spoil it.
Most of all, though, the film alludes to Blade Runner, and in effective ways. At times it's just the lighting and the way that a character runs through light, shadow, and rain. But then I started thinking about the themes of the film, and I think there's a real relationship to be explored here. I wondered if I might just be "reading into it", but then something happened near the end that convinced me the Blade Runner connection was deliberate.
Cillian Murphy is fantastic in the lead role. He reminds me of Jim Caviezel. He plays this film as though it is total freakin' reality. Brendan Gleeson is also very good, as is Christopher Eccleston, one of the best and most grievously underused actors in the movies.
This movie will make you think about how the world might end. It will make you think of Africa, where disease is running rampant while the world stands around, hands in pockets, and watches. It will make you think about the dangers of science and irresponsibility. You'll think about what your town might do, how your neighbors might behave, how YOU might behave, if chaos broke out, if the government was dissolved, if you had to try and hide yourself from the rest of humanity.
One of the reasons the film struck such a chord with me is how frequently visions of devastated and even empty cities are showing up on the big screen. Just recently we saw heroes exploring familiar cities that were suddenly devoid of humanity in A.I. Artificial Intelligence and Vanilla Sky. Here it happens again. It's as if filmmakers are beginning to gather around those prophecies that seem most possible, most imminent. This was the most convincing and thoughtful use of that premise I've seen. Boyle scatters some spiritual songs and prayers through the script, and I don't think that was indulgent. It suited the scene. At one point the hero stumbles onto a bit of graffiti that, while the use of profanity will prevent me from posting it here, struck me almost as a message from God shouting at the audience in large capital letters. And while the film does enter Road Warrior territory and recall a dozen other apocalypse and horror films, I think this one is thinking much more seriously than the others. I think its eyes are wide open.
But that's just me. Stef hated it and fell asleep. :roll:
Posted 29 June 2003 - 03:57 PM
I'm really glad to hear this because I've been looking forward to this film for quite some time. I'm a huge fan of Trainspotting, as well as the old Romero zombie movies, Evil Dead etc. So this could be a match made in heaven (as odd as that expression sounds talking about a zombie movie :-s ).
Glad to hear it. I watched Gangs of New York again the other night, and I really think Gleeson is an underappreciated actor.
Posted 29 June 2003 - 06:13 PM
Until people started speaking. And they didn't have a whole lot to say.
And until the director tried to let the editor, instead of the camerman, make this a great film. This was a sad decision -- it was the cameraman who captured all that beauty in the story's intro. It was like bringing in a relief pitcher in the second inning when the first guy only had three strikeouts to his credit, and then watching the relief pitcher blow the game.
'Tis true, except for the fact that things kept getting louder and gorier and at those points the film would wake me up and scare the living daylights out of me. I can even remember dreaming about the whole militia subplot and forgetting the zombies even existed, yet being snapped back into reality when the zombies exploded on the screen -- dripping, reeking and acting like -- well, zombies.
But talk about a rude awakening!
I don't know. I don't have a real problem with the story being somewhat formulaic. Heck, it's Outbreak meets Night of the Living Dead, and that's all fine and good. The problem i had are the dumb lines going back and forth between the characters. No one seemed believable to me. The dialoge was quite shallow, given the sitaution, as if these were lines that they were supposed to say, because these are the kinds of lines that are said in horror films. Especially between the main two characters/potential lovers. Two perfect examples: (1) "What are we supposed to do, make love or find a cure?" Well, obviously since neither of them are scientists they are going to make love... (2) "If i ever see you in the same condition (as one of the zombies) i won't hesitate to kill you, either." Riiiiight... Like that wasn't a dead giveaway that they'd be in the sack soon and that when confronted with the aforementioned opportunity she'd... what, kill him?? Riiiiight. un-BUY-able.
The monkeys and the zombies were un-BUY-able, too. The whole monkey setup didn't look anything like a lab -- it looked like someone trying to convince a 13 year old that there was a government conspiaracy against the monkeys. It looked like the X-files, and that's fine, i'm a fan, but come on... A monkey's head being hooked up so that he can view six TV screens of the apocalypse? Not even the US government is stupid enough to waste money like that. I mean, was the monkey going to get the virus by watchiing TV??
The zombies NEVER ONCE moved in real-time motion. Why?? Do they defy the natural laws of the earth's physical properties of time?... Why is is that every time i see one of these monsters he is spliced to look like a running strobe light? And what is it that turned them into zombies in the first place? And why do they constantly spit up their own blood? And just because they've got a disease, how does that give them super-human strength? Most diseases make people weaker, not stronger.
That statement says more about crappy apocalypse movies than it does about the legitimacy of this one.
No, it's not. The whole idea that this is some form of a virus takes up about 90 seconds of screen time. So why get stuck there? The virus turns them into zombies so that for the next two hours we can be shocked and awed with horror gore (although upon discovering the militia subplot they even forgot how to shock and awe us with the zombies, for a while there...)
I completely disagree with you on this point, and here's why. After The Blair Wirch Project i left the theater not knowing what or who the Blair Witch was -- with a roller-coaster, non-stop, adrenaline-rush headache -- still pondering what this force in the forest might be, and having experienced something completely different with the documentary-styled perspective and the real-people-in-the-woods experience. In 28 Days, i left the theater having been introduced vaguely to a villain (a virus) who has no mystery, and everything is given away about him in the first 90 seconds of the film in vague and meaningless terms. The villain turns people into zombies. Period. Where's the mystery in this? Why keep watching? We already have all the answers. And from this point out it's blood, guts, boredom and sleep. And i'm certainly not going to watch for the outstanding dialogue. Puh-leeze. These characters weren't explored -- they didn't care about the loss of life or the end of the world, they didn't even cry when people in their families were found dead. They weren't characters, they were CARICATURES. And unfortunately there was no Jamie Lee Curtis to save us from all the mannequin virtues offered up by the entire cast.
i guess i can buy this and blame the material rather than the actors, for the most part. But the actors choose what roles they want to play, so i choose to blame them too.
No it won't. It'll make for great conversation about zombies and gore. No typical movie-goer is ever going to think any deeper in regard to 28 Days Later. For proof, go hang around at your water cooler on Monday morning and listen to people and find out who saw it this weekend. All they will talk about is the zombies, guaranteed. If you're lucky, they also might talk about some of the cool ways the film was shot, and the unbelievable scenes at the beginning.
Again, i think that perhaps you may have seen something, but i don't think the film itself will speak to most people like this. They'll see zombies. The director, pure and simple, made a zombie film, and had many of the key elements there for a modern Night of the Living Dead, but blew it by leaving out mystery, meaning and mood, and by tipping his hand before dealing the cards.
Edited by stef, 21 August 2004 - 01:40 AM.
Posted 30 June 2003 - 01:07 AM
Well... for those who have eyes to see... :wink:
The editing didn't bother me. I will agree that some of the characters were somewhat "stock" and said some "stock" things, but I thought they were more than just stock characters. I felt for the girl. I liked her dad. After discussing the film with a friend of mine back in Seattle via e-mail today, I agree with him that the girl's story didn't quite get enough closure, but I felt she was a real, believable character.
I don't think the movie goes out of its way to get the average moviegoer to consider hard questions. But I think that the director had hard questions on his mind as he made the film, and that it took it that extra step towards elevating the film into something artful and meaningful.
Here's a review that says some things I agree with:
No book or painting could have captured the late '90s better than The Matrix; no sonata or sculpture could have better captured the post-Iraq War 2 mood than X2. The same can also be said about Boyle's new film 28 Days Later. If X2 got to the terrifying heart of the days leading to our most recent war, then 28 Days Later got to the heart of SARS. True, SARS came about after 28 Days Later was made (2002), but the environment that made the disease all the rage for the better part of the first half of 2003 is the very same environment that makes 28 Days Later the best horror film of this, our time.
The main stage for SARS was Hong Kong, the former outpost for London, which is the main stage for 28 Days Later. After a brief scene in a lab, the movie begins in a hospital bed, with a patient (Cillian Murphy) who has just awoken from a coma. He was in our world (the positive world of international business, traffic, city lights) when an accident knocked him into a death sleep; he is in the other world (the negative, empty, lawless world that's ruled by the darkest forces) when he regains consciousness. In the space of 28 days, an incurable virus has turned his beloved United Kingdom into the heart of darkness. Even AIDS-ravaged Africa looks like paradise compared to this diseased and desolate former First World country.
The young man soon discovers that there are now only two races of people left: those who are infected by the disease that makes them raving mad, murderous zombies, and those who are not. The young man teams up with a young woman (Naomie Harris), a father (Brendan Gleeson), and his daughter (Megan Burns), and the four decide to leave the safety of a fortified apartment complex and follow a radio signal broadcasting from an army post based in Manchester. The signal promises protection from the zombies, but upon arriving at the army camp they discover an even worse enemy than the zombies of London--and at this point the movie, as happened in reality (in March of 2003), combines the fears of Hong Kong's SARS with the horrors of the British siege of Basra, Iraq. (Watch the movie and this interpretation will make sense.)
Though gory and scary, there are numerous beautiful moments in 28 Days Later, such as the scenes that are filled with the magnificent music of Fauré's Requiem. And there is also a lot of comedy, even during the darkest of moments. But most importantly, what Boyle attempted to do with The Beach (to detail the collapse of highly developed consumer society, whose needs and desires are serviced by a global network) is here successfully realized. Capitalist Britain finally falls, and what remains is a terrifying corpse that consumes nothing but itself. I'll be surprised if I watch a better film this year.
Posted 30 June 2003 - 01:12 AM
Look at some of these reviews!
A.O. Scott, David Edelstein, Joe Morgenstern, and yes, Jonathan Rosenbaum, who says:
Posted 30 June 2003 - 09:04 AM
I agree with some of Stef's points but the rest...well I am not sure if we saw the same movie. Oh, I guess we really didn't since Stef slept through most of it. No more movies after 10pm for you young man.
Posted 30 June 2003 - 09:50 AM
This is extremely spoilery so consider yourself warned. I most enjoy those formula movies with a little twist, like if the hero doesn't actually make it out (cf. the original Army of Darkness ending) or if the hero's struggle isn't for what we originally thought (such as in Jacob's Ladder). But this movie, its twist was that it could be formulaic but also bring up some questions. What would we do to keep going? Grossly use other human beings? Turn into such an animal that we're indistinguishable from these mindless killers (zombies, whatever)? Turning a blind eye to suffering so that we ourselves can avoid that same fate?
At least, that's what amazed me about 28 Days Later -- when I was leaving the theater, and a bunch of the audience members laughed "blah, just another slasher movie," I turned to my friends and said "that scene where [something spoilery about someone's eyes] -- that really disturbed me." (And also it was a true blue gore horror movie move.)
Just my ten cents
Russell Lucas (unregistered)
Posted 30 June 2003 - 11:33 AM
After all, stef liked Morvern Callar, so what does he know?
Posted 30 June 2003 - 01:56 PM
Oh, and just so people know, I love Trainspotting.
Posted 01 July 2003 - 10:35 AM
A few thoughts, after seeing the film yesterday, and reading the board's comments this morning:
- I thought the characters were terrific and empathically-drawn. I briefly gained hope that the cinema-going public has not completely coarsened, when I heard a sympathetic groan go 'round the theater after the dad was infected by the falling droplet of blood.
- On the other hand, it didn't make me think too hard about SARS, Ebola, and company. Rather, I appreciated Boyle's use of disease as metaphor for sin (whether he intended it this way or not) - after the disease enters the human race, all who are infected become murderers. In this regard, I thought the opening shot of the monkey hooked up to the half-dozen TV monitors was particularly effective in showing the rapidly tainting power of our sin-sick world.
- Boyle is also dynamite with details -- the sense of visual abandon and forsakenness was quite convincing. The music was very effective, too -- I appreciated the use of "In paradisum" from Faure's Requiem, as the protagonists were seeking refuge from the killing.
Posted 01 July 2003 - 11:07 AM
That scene was very effecting, even though I couldn't figure out exactly what the purpose of that scene was, plot-wise. (Was the monkey getting a Clockwork Orange treatment? Was that supposed to stir up his rage? Because he looked kinda sleepy and bored, whereas the monkeys in the cages were going insane. Maybe they'd already been through that part.)
One of the girls that went to 28 Days Later with me, her first comment outside of the theater was "I almost couldn't handle that 'news' footage -- if it had gone on a second longer I would have had to leave." All that riot footage was pretty hardcore, and as we talked about it we realized that it may not have been produced for use in the movie. That might be actual news footage. You think? And if it's not, the fact that it made us wonder is scary enough in its own right.
Posted 01 July 2003 - 01:32 PM
Posted 02 July 2003 - 11:04 AM
Until people started speaking. And they didn't have a whole lot to say.
The one thing I do not understand though is that they weren’t zombies according to description. They were “infected,” So why the zombie feel? Also, if they were simply infected wouldn’t they eventually die?
I am not sure what they were suppose to say given the fact that they were just ordinary people experiencing an unexplainable and horrific event. They weren’t scientists (as you pointed out), theologians or philosophers. I think we just want too much handed to us in the dialogue.
This seems like something that was said to poke fun at the typical horror movie.
The end result may not have been exactly what the director wanted or as articulately expressed as he would have wanted but he did not make a zombie film, “pure and simple”. There was definite mystery, meaning and mood which all would have been missed by someone who slept through most of the film
Posted 02 July 2003 - 05:59 PM
Are you thinking of the eye gouge Jim gives one of the soldiers?
Yes I noticed them. At first I thought I just wasn't seeing clearly, but then my friend from work (who only came because I convinced him it would be Trainspotting meets Resident Evil, yet still he loved the movie) turned to me and asked "What the hell was that?"
Posted 03 July 2003 - 01:36 AM
Posted 06 July 2003 - 09:36 PM
I just saw 28 DL tonight... so I've not had a lot of time to form an opinion on it... My intial reaction was that I enjoyed it, that I found myself well and truly on the edge of my seat through much of it. I think I liked it in part, too, as a reaction to seeing it with an audience that didn't seem to enjoy it too much. Did you ever feel that way? -- like you want to like something just because someone else doesn't get it? But then you're not
sure it was all that great?
I felt like I was seeing it with an audience that wanted this to be just a slasher flick or a typical horror movie and jeered at it for being grittier and more harsh than they expected. This is an audience that howled when we see Jim nude in the hospital bed near the beginning. Just the sight of a nude man was too much for them -- and I felt like "oh great, a totally immature audience."
Anyway -- I liked it, but I didn't love it. I did like the idea of a RAGE plague spreading. It made me think, as I was leaving the theater, that in some ways the film was about the breakdown of our society in general, even now -- about how niceties and politness and just being friendly and helpful to others are ideas that are disappearing, and that we're not far from total breakdown. And this idea was, I think, echoed by the last act of the film, the whole part of it set inside the "bunker." It shows how quick our society breaks down in the face of something unthinkable -- that we can't depend on one another. Just as Selena (sp?) is placing trust in people again, her trust is destroyed. So what's the message? Trust no one -- even if they're not zombies, that's no proof they're not out to harm you.
From a structural standpoint, I thought the film came to a screeching halt when they got to Manchester. I realize why things changed at that point, and to some degree I enjoyed the surreal nature of certain scenes in the last act, like the dinner scene interrupted by a zombie attack. But the feel of the film changed at that point, and I didn't think it was a change for the better. Again, I realize there was a strong emphasis at this point in the film on the nature of humanity and "enemy within" theme... but I felt like it abandoned the idea of figuring out what was happening in the world, whether or not there was anything out there... anyone else... I don't know. My thoughts aren't fully formed, but the last act felt sort of blah to me.
It also made me wonder about DV-shot films on big screens -- was there an effort to make it intentionally soft-focus and blurry? I know Boyle and crew shot it with DV cameras and wanted to emphasize that grainy feel, but sometimes I felt like it was just a bad quality transfer, and I wanted to know if DV always looks like this when transferred to film, or if it was intentional. I felt the style was intentionally grainy and hard to see in order to emphasize the disorienting nature of the world -- especially for Jim, as he's the "uninitiated" at the start of the film -- but I felt it went too far and was just annoying to look at (at times).
So those are my half-baked ideas about the film, such as they are.
Posted 07 July 2003 - 05:27 PM
: I don't think that the devasted cities thing is as much apocalyptic as it is
: anti-technology. (The zombies are in the high-tech areas and the
: travellers are safe in the countryside, after all.) Noble Savage?
Hmmm, maybe the zombies are stand-ins for junkies and panhandlers -- cities do tend to attract such people more than the country does, for obvious reasons.
: Do people always have to do *stupid* things in horror flicks (you know:
: don't go in the dark, scary places, stay with others, etc.)
Heh. Like that one scene at the gas station, I think it was, you mean?
: I did not really like the digital video; it came off as too grainy.
I could appreciate it, though -- it helped to suggest how, um, lacking in resources Britain had become. You can't exactly make a SLICK post-apocalyptic zombie movie, can you? What would be the point?
: Did anyone else notice that impressionist field of flowers?
Oh yes. Rather liked it, actually.
Posted 09 July 2003 - 06:56 AM
I was very glad that the movie switched gears and didn't try to be a straight-up horror flick. The first few zombie encounters weren't scary. This is probably the first "horror" film I've ever seen that actually drew me in as it progressed, mainly due to it not really being a horror film at all.
Although I thought the "people kill people" point was a little heavy handed, I was lost in thought on a side point. The one seminar I caught at C'Stone was on C.S. Lewis and Pulp Fiction (no, not the movie as I had assumed -- -- but pulp fiction magazines). The speaker made a comment about how early science fiction was used in many ways as atheistic propoganda. He laughed about how atheists and mant sci-fi authors seem to view survival and propagation as the ultimate goal of humanity. And while that point may be debated, I think it's certainly true enough to at least a few sci-fi authors. When Christopher Eccleston's character basically made this point as his motivation I nearly jumped out of my seat. And then Cillian Murphy's character realizes that "we're not f***ed" -- there's other people, when he sees the jet flying over. And then after he was shot and before he wakes up at the end, there is a flash of the word "Hell" on the ground. I assumed this was the sheets they constructed laid out before they had finished the "O" to make "Hello." In any case, I started thing about how we all live in a fallen world where people are busy killing other people (both literally and metaphorically) and it is easy to take an Ecclesiastical view of life where survival, although pointless in and of itself, is the only goal. But like Jim, if we look "up" (it's interesting that he was for all purposes lost -- he was bound, fallen to the ground and his life basically forfeit at the moment he saw the jet) with "eyes to see" we're not f***ed either. There is salvation.
Sorry if this wasn't as clear as I hoped it to be. I'm a slow typist and I've got to get ready for school.
Posted 09 July 2003 - 10:11 AM
It was a fun Zombie/post apocalypse movie, but that's all. I didn't see too much beyond that.
Jeff, I'm not sure where you were seeing the Blade Runner imagery. Unless you talking about the eye gouging bit.