28 Days Later Review
Written by: Constantce
People who love movies, I mean REALLY love movies, take the term “favorite movie” very seriously. For me, it’s a matter of pomp and circumstance. When I love a movie, it turns over and over in my mind, keeping me up at night until… pow… that melodramatic declaration comes. 28 Days Later is my favorite movie. I love it like I love moonlit walks on the beach, like I love snow on a rainy day, like… like… a fat kid loves cake, to borrow a phrase from fitty cent. The analogies are easy, it’s the “why” that is difficult.
The mechanics of art and its emotional draw are so difficult to pin down. In college, I had a course called “Aesthetics.” We went to museums, plays, concerts, and movies, so people took the class thinking it would be an “Easy A.” Surprisingly, it was as difficult as it was fun. We had to analyze why we liked what we liked, and we had to put it into words. Art is so personal. The things that appeal to me might not appeal to you. My frame of reference is being an academic, a literature buff, a writer, a woman, a mother, a wife, a student of the Apocalyptic, and so much more. Are you all these things too? Even if you are, you still might not like what I like. So here we are, writing and reading reviews and trying to find commonalities that will lead us to the movies we will enjoy. Wow, I’ve gotten really esoteric, haven’t I? Hell, I just used the word “esoteric.”
Why is 28 Days Later my favorite movie? The apocalyptic theme is so intriguing that I wrote my Master’s thesis on it. The idea of true loneliness is hard to grasp. From the second we’re born, we are surrounded by people. Our lives are defined by our connections to others. You take all of that away, and it’s a whole new world. Jim, played by Cillian Murphy, wakes in a hospital that is completely desolate. Hospitals are NEVER desolate in reality. So, right away, you are in a world that is totally new. Not to mention, he’s recovering from a catastrophic surgery. Is he okay? Doesn’t he need a nurse or doctor to check on him? There is no one. This is also personal for me, having had my share of surgeries. It’s no wonder I love this movie.
The landscapes are barren, the soundtrack echoing the silence. Just when this new reality is defined, it is ripped out from under your feet. Jim is not alone. The rage-infected victims are waiting in the dark. Their speed and fury is a complete opposite of the serenity of the empty world. Jim doesn’t have time to rationalize his survival, he just fights. Survival becomes more appealing with the appearance of Selena (Naomie Harris), who slowly becomes a love interest, and an ad-hoc family with Hannah (Megan Burns) and her father, Frank (Brendan Gleeson). Together, they try to stay alive and to improve their quality of life by finding a larger community.
When the group arrives at the military installation, all hell breaks loose. The obvious danger comes from the infected, but there is a more subtle threat in the negative emotions that exist in all humans. Rage, lust, greed, pride… these are just a few of the things that make people scarier than monsters. Danny Boyle’s 28 Days Later explores the evil that lurks in the hearts of all humans and the connections that redeem us, the one letter difference between “hell” and “hello.”
What is your favorite movie? Why is it your favorite movie? Do the themes pound against your heart, echoing through your life experiences? Do you appreciate intelligent filmmaking? Flawless directing and acting? A rock-solid plot? Or a hard and fast ride? Finding movies you like, let alone love, is all about trial and error. You’ve got to watch a heap of crap to get to the good stuff. Same goes for reviews. Even if you agree with every single review I’ve written, one of these days you’ll shake your head at me. It’s the nature of art.