28 WEEKS LATER
© 2007 by C.E. Murphy. All Rights Reserved.

written by Alex Garland and directed by Danny
Boyle. This time around, Garland and Boyle were
preoccupied with their sci-fi thriller
SUNSHINE
so they only served as executive producers on
this film. They did handpick director Juan Carlos
Fresnadillo (who made something of a splash
with
INTACTO). Fresnadillo was also one of
four credited screenwriters on the film; the
others include Rowan Joffe (the son of director
Roland Joffé and actress Jane Lapotaire),
producer Enrique López-Lavigne and Jesús Olmo.
Now, I'm not exactly sure why it takes so many
writers to craft a screenplay about a
post-apocalyptic situation but in some ways I
kept thinking back to 2006's
CHILDREN OF MEN
(which also had several credited writers). In
some ways, this is the flip side of that film.

28 WEEKS LATER actually begins in a period
that overlaps with the first movie. A group of
individuals have sought refuge in an old
farmhouse in rural England. Among them are
Don (Robert Carlyle) and his wife Alice
(Catherine McCormack). We learn that they have
two children who were sent on holiday in Spain
and are presumably safe (although in the first
movie there were reports that the virus had
spread across the world -- a minor flub but one
that makes some of the events in this film a bit
questionable. I guess we are supposed to think
it was some sort of disinformation being spread.)
Before long, the "infected" attack this bucolic
refuge. Alice attempts to rescue a young boy
which causes Don to leave her behind and run
for his life. He barely escapes and Alice is
presumably turned into one of the undead.

Some six months later, Britain is being
repopulated under the watchful eye of the
American military. Among those allowed back
into the country are Tammy (Imogen Poots) and
Andy (Mackintosh Muggleton), the children of
Don and Alice. Don is there to greet them and
he basically tells his kids a story about how
their mother died, leaving out the part about
how he cowardly ran off and left her alone to
fend for herself. Well, Karma's a bitch and Don
gets his payback. Especially after Tammy and
Andy sneak out of the controlled area and head
back to their home in order to "rescue" items
like photographs and articles of clothing. At the
house, Andy discovers his mother Alice is still
alive. Indeed, she's something of a medical
miracle -- having clearly survived an attack. A
medic named Scarlet (Rose Byrne) discovers
that Alice is a carrier -- she has the "rage virus"
in her bloodstream but she's apparently
asymptomatic.

When Don and Alice have a reunion, something
goes awry and the virus is unleashed again
leading the US Army to implement a Code Red,
basically a quarantine. That too gets screwed up
and you'll have to see the movie to find out
how, why, and what happens.

For some, this movie will be a disappointment.
It's not as erudite as the first film which in
some ways could have been read as an allegory
for the spread of AIDS or any other
communicable disease. The first half of the film
works well as the characters are established. In
addition to Carlyle's Don and his family and
Byrne's medico, two other main characters
emerge: an American sniper named Doyle
(Jeremy Renner) who becomes disgusted by the
implementation of Code Red and all that it
entails, and his buddy, helicopter pilot Flynn
(Harold Perrineau). What's particularly
fascinating about the film is how the point of
view shifts constantly and how there really isn't
any one "lead" character (like Cillian Murphy in
the original). Here, the story fluidly shifts focus
from Don and Alice to Tammy and Andy to
Scarlet and Doyle to Flynn and back again.

The camera work by Enrique Chediak is
interesting but some key sequences suffer a bit
because of the director's insistence on
hand-held shots. What's on screen mirrors the
panic of the characters but it becomes a bit
confusing for the audience. It's the same sort of
problems I have had with these large-scale epic
films that feature battle sequences. I lose some
interest because I cannot tell who is doing what
to whom. (Examples includes everything from
realistic movies like
SAVING PRIVATE RYAN to
fantasy features like
THE LORD OF THE RINGS
films. They are amazing to watch in that how
did they do that manner, but as far as moving
the action forward, they can be confusing,
especially if the casts -- or the extras -- are not
terribly distinguishable.)

Ultimately,
28 WEEKS LATER works on its own
merits as a scary and enjoyable thrill ride.
There's also the requisite set up for the next
part -- one can hazard a guess what has
happened and who is responsible -- so I'm sure
we'll be seeing yet another installment of this
series in a few years.


Rating:             B
MPAA Rating:     R for strong violence and
                      gore, language and
                      some sexuality/nudity
Running time:   91 mins.



Viewed at the Dolby Screening Room
L to R: Rose Byrne as Scarlet, Jeremy Renner as Doyle,
Mackintosh Muggleton as Andy and Imogen Poots as Tammy
in
28 WEEKS LATER
© 2007 Fox Atomic