Once in a while, a movie appears that is so beautiful in its simplicity, so well rounded, so clear, that you simply feel how great it is right after you watch it for the first time. “28 Days Later” is one of those movies.
Movies like this don’t need kick ass budgets to tell its stories. On the other hand, they usually make a good examples of cult films or camp classics (depending on their actual quality).
“28 Days Later” is a great film because it’s actually quite simple, and it touches both of your mind and your heart – just like any good work of art should. It’s not, by any means, the greatest movie ever made, but its somewhat small scale and occasional inconsistencies and errors just make it more realistic as a project.
I am not, by any means, a fan of horror movies (zombies might be the subject I least like), but I like dystopian stories a lot. What I liked about “28 Days Later”, however, was the fact it was neither: it was a story about human nature. That’s why I find all the debates on whether this was a zombie movie fairly irrelevant.
On the other hand, I am not sure if I got some of the symbolism, or if there was any actual symbolism in the stuff such as the title itself, horses or Major’s last name (West). I am not good at interpreting symbolism because I believe that, essentially, there’s no such thing as a global interpretation of a work of art, only personal.
So I don’t really care what authors wanted to say… I know what this movie means to me. Essentially, it’s about humans, and (unlike their later work on “Sunshine”), Boyle and Garland managed to make a good, if surprising, third act that actually makes perfect sense and takes the movie on a different level. (And yes, I know there are people who were disappointed at the whole soldiers subplot, but frankly, I found it to be one of the majors points of the movie).
I also liked characters. A lot. When it comes to movies with any sense of action it’s often difficult to actually care about the characters, but I cared about these. I like Jim’s story arc and the way he disturbingly, explosively transforms himself from a shy courier boy that blushes when a girl kisses him on the cheek into the batshit crazy killing machine full of – ironically? – rage. I also like the way it makes us think about the whole thing.
And I really liked Selena (what girl doesn’t want to be like her?) The character starts in a dangerous territory – as a strong black woman (and when I say “strong black woman”, I don’t mean on a strong woman that is black, but on a harmful stereotype many authors use when dealing with characters who are black females). But we soon learn it’s all just a mask – Selena is a sensitive, emotional person. She says she’ll leave Frank and his daughter behind if they slow her down, but she doesn’t. She says she’ll kill anybody “in a heartbeat” should she suspect they’re infected. But like we find out in the movie’s most climatic (and strangely erotic) scene, she doesn’t. Oh, no, she doesn’t.
The bad things about the movie? Well, the theatrical ending felt a bit inconsistent with the rest of the story, and I strongly prefer the original (alternate) ending, in which (HUGE SPOILER, Jim dies and is left in the abandoned hospital). I am not quite sure why they opted to change this, since it’s the ending that makes the most sense.
Also, I could not stand Megan Burns (her acting I mean). I know she got an award before, but she was distracting here.
Everything else was good. Definitely one of the best movies of the decade.
The movie has one of the most haunting opening sequences I’ve ever seen. (Well, not the actual opening scene, but the one in which we meet Jim). The scene in deserted London, with the killer music in the background is perfect in every meaning of the word.
Remember I said “28 Days Later” was beautiful in its simplicity? Some people disagree: they see it as a good example of a mind screw.
28 Days Later: Wild Mass Guessing (Spoilers heavy, of course).
As proven yet again, Americans are scared of naked people. (But not of, say, zombies, blood, or killing people with the machete/bare hands).