28 Days Later (Danny Boyle, 2002): UK

Reviewed by Jason Sanders.  Viewed at the Santa Barbara Film Festival.

Danny Boyle’s 28 Days Later explores the idea and tragedy of a virus outbreak in England.  This film shows the realistic outcome of such a fate by vast scenes of total isolation of the main character in places that would otherwise be filled with people. Cillian Murphy gives one of his best performances by giving a true portrayal of a man who is out on his own by himself, in a major city and no idea of what is going on.

The film starts off with a short explanation that the virus is centered on rage.  In a lab they test the virus on chimps, and eventually one breaks loose and that is the start of the outbreak.  The movie then jumps ahead maybe a few days after the virus has devoured most of England in a deserted hospital where we are introduced to Jim, Murphy’s character, alone and isolated.  Jim awakes to find that his whole world has changed suddenly and is alone with no idea what happened.  As Jim sets off on his own, he ends up meeting survivors who he ends up bonding with and trying to survive with.  Eventually Jim and his new friends run into a small group of British army guys take them into their newly founded house.  Boyle shows what a catastrophe can do to people and the outcome of their reactions.

This film is visually amazing with the scenes of popular places in England being completely abandoned.  By showing Murphy alone in the city and his evolution to hero, I personally thought Boyle was showing his view on man’s last moments and natural instincts.  The movie was written very well by taking a natural flow to the movie.  There were very few scenes that were out of place or didn’t happen for a reason.  I would recommend this film to anyone who likes suspense and a animalistic view on man’s last moments.

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