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PCR # 171  (Vol. 4, No. 27)  This edition is for the week of June 30--July 6, 2003.

This Week's PCR
Movie Review
"28 Days Later"

Movie review by:
Brandon Jones
Three and a half stars

Movies are rated 0 to 4 stars

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Fox Searchlight     
Starring: Cillian Murphy, Naomie Harris, Megan Burns, and Brenden Gleeson
Directed by: Danny Boyle
Written by: Alex Garland
Rated: R
Running Time: 1 hour 42 minutes

Wow! From the pages of 1960s and '70s is a zombie that is truly scary by forgetting all the feeble attempts at special effects. Danny Boyle ("Trainspotting") keeps us off balance the entire time - eerie moments of silence, thumping music, chase scenes, claustrophobia -- awesome!

Our motley bunch of survivors: Jim (Cillian Murphy), Selenna (Naomie Harris), Hannah (Megan Burns), and Frank (Brenden Gleeson, who I loved as Hamish in "Braveheart") all struggle with their fleeting attempts at surival.

"Jim, I have some bad news." -- you chuckle at the understatement.

A virus-infected group of chimps are set free by a band of activists unleashing "rage" onto the popular. A bicycle messenger (Jim) awakens from a coma to discover a wasteland of post-civilization. "The Infected" would make George Romero cringe, and Boyle gives us a diverse perspective throughout as Jim deals with the cynical perspectives and tales of other survivors. Remember, they have struggling to survive for nearly a month and this is Jim's first day. He is naive, hopeful, and confused -- a perfect contrast to blood thirsty Infected.

The paternal Frank guides our uninfected protagonists towards a radio signal from the military offering safety and hope. A flat tire in a tunnel, a stop at a grocery store and cinematic shots of the ruins reveal the fears and dynamics of this group. Selena is a tough, hardened woman that will leave you behind to save herself.

But surviving the zombie-filled streets was just the beginning. What if you would be safer with the zombies than other survivors? Boyle unearths new fears and questions the stability of the human race. There is no moment to stand up and cheer. No, Boyle shoots "28 Days Later" on digital video to give it a gritty, grainy feel with chaotic, blurry camerawork that never lets us feel comfortable. While the final scenes are somewhat cliché, this redefines zombie films, comparable only to Romero. I can’t wait to see it again.

Brutal zombies rampage the streets of London after a chimpanzee virus is released devastating mankind - oh yeah, this is why independent filmmakers have hope. The Hollywood version of this would have four WB stars bantering inane dialogue, running into the dark foreboding shadows only to meet CGI zombies that would splatter blood onto the camera lens. Thanks Danny Boyle.  

This week's movie review of "28 Days Later" is ©2003 by Brandon Jones.  All graphics this page are creations of Nolan B. Canova, ©2003, all rights reserved. All contents of "Nolan's Pop Culture Review" are ©2003 by Nolan B. Canova.