Saturday, May 19, 2007

28 Weeks Later

2007, UK, directed by Juan Carlos Fresnadillo

28 Weeksl Later is that rare beast, a truly worthwhile sequel, which in some ways surpasses the original, particularly in its commitment to a more rigorous and demanding conclusion in keeping with the film's overall narrative. The bleak tone and the opening scenes recall Michael Haneke's Le Temps du loup as much as they do 28 Days Later, which focused more on the character development of a specific group of survivors as on the actual progression of the 'rage' virus, the terrifying illness that precipitates the events of both films.

The film does a remarkably effective job of combining horror and thrills - the first major action sequence is harrowing and exhausting, as well as hypnotic - with insistent, intelligent political commentary. While the obvious resonance is with the Iraq war, particularly given that the troops sent to save and secure London are from the US, the film isn't simple-minded, depicting the conflict that arises as messily multi-faceted, and prompting reflection, too, on more distant wartime experiences, particularly the moral quandaries that accompanied the fire-bombing of Dresden during the Second World War (an action which, however necessary it may have seemed at the time, has increasingly been called into question, including in Britain). It's also an intensely visceral experience - an effect that director Juan Carlos Fresnadillo also achieved in certain sequences of his previous film, Intacto, but the tempo here is far more intense and sustained.

Local filmgoing note: this is the first film I've seen at the Somerville Theatre since they acquired a license to sell beer and wine; it's the only place I know of in Massachusetts where you can enjoy a drink (without food) while you watch, and it's a thoroughly civilized experience.


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Most of the images here are either studio publicity stills or screen captures I've made myself; if I've taken your image without giving you credit, please let me know.

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Boston, Massachusetts, United States