Tuesday, July 10, 2007

28 Weeks Later (2007)


Juan Carlos Fresnadillo's followup to Danny Boyle's sleeper hit 28 Days Later accomplishes in its opening minutes what Boyle's inexplicably overrated Romero rip couldn't do in the whole of its running time: It scared the hell out of me. Narrative quibbles aside -- and there are a couple, notably the Army's puzzling attempt at a quarantine -- Juan Carlos succeeds in crafting a tense, quick and brutal tale that, for me, ranks as the most unnerving theatrical experience I've had since Twentynine Palms. The celebrated sniping-the-crowd setpiece is probably the film's most effective and disturbing, but the bit that's really stuck with me is Don's fateful kiss with his wife -- the film's whole world of guilt and consequence hinges upon that simple, tragic smooch. The kiss is an attempt to repair things, an expression of love and apology and hope for future forgiveness, and it turns into terror and madness. Even more so than the explicit parallels to current world situations, it's this metaphorical, deeply emotional representation of good intentions thrown awry by self-interest and situational misunderstanding that has burned into my mind. 28 Weeks Later is a deeply frightening and deeply disturbing vision of the world torn apart by people who only mean well. Also: Best use of night-vision cinematography I've seen in maybe ever.

Grade: A-


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