28 Days Later

Cillian Murphy, Naomie Harris, Christopher Eccleston. Directed by Danny Boyle.
Running Time: 113 mins
Rated: MA 15+

It's a pity that this film's title is very close to one of Sandra Bullock's latest films, 28 Days. Bullock's film looks at addiction. Danny Boyle explores an apocalyptic virus. Both films portray life in quarantine.

28 days after an animal rights organisation liberates imprisoned monkeys, a killer virus, "Rage", has almost wiped out everyone in the UK. Transmission comes through blood contact. The effect is instant and horrifying.

When the virus hits Jim (Murphy) is recovering in an intensive care unit after a bicycle accident. He wakes up from a coma to discover he is the only survivor in the hospital. Roaming London's streets he meets infected compatriots who try to kill him. He also finds the uninfected Selina (Harris), Mark (Noah Huntley) Frank (Brendan Gleeson) and Hannah (Megan Burns). This quintet makes its way to Manchester where they hear that the army is protecting survivors. Here they meet Henry (Eccleston), a megalomaniacal army major. Now they have to survive being survivors.

This film is filled with dire warnings about animal experimentation, genetic engineering and human morality. Director Danny Boyle, who made Trainspotting and The Beach, starts out telling us that 28 days after such a catastrophe all morality will be sacrificed for survival. What makes the heroes in his films so interesting is that they resist the baser instincts.

28 Days Later has graphic violence and very strong language which will distress many viewers. It's cleverly shot on digital video and some shots of a deserted London are a triumph for digital post-production.

Dripping in Christian iconography and music, this film explores the boundaries of grief, human meaning, and abjection.

If you what to contemplate what the world might be like given over to most of the seven deadly sins, this horror thriller will keep you on the edge of your seat.

Fr Richard Leonard is the director of the Australian Catholic film office.

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