28 days later

'28 days later' is an important film. Not so much for what it shows but for what it makes us fear. In a world that has known ever increasing danger of Anthrax spores or SARS, the idea of this film hits a home run and it is good to know that the movie doesn't lag too far behind.

A 'rage virus' has been transmitted to the humans in England making people ravenously mad and violent. 28 days later when our hero Jim (Murphy) wakes us in a hospital yard he is shaken and so are we to see what we probably and hopefully will never see. A vast vacant big empty London. A city of millions completely devoid of people. This hazy, grainy digital video of Jim walking on the London Bridge all alone is a sight as scary as we have seen in a while.

Rest of the movie is like most other 'Night of the living dead' derivatives where the sane try to save themselves from the infected. Mr. Murphy as a hapless hopeless characters has very little to offer of his own and that works wonderfully for Mr. Boyle. Ms. Harris on the other hand, is the conventional voice of reason amongst the madness and does an excellent, very convincing job.

The concept of 'rage' is an 'infection' is not entirely new. The 1990 Tim Robbins film 'Jacob's Ladder' almost pioneered the idea. However, Mr. Boyle uses it as its central vehicle and hence forces us to raise many hitherto unasked questions.

Alas the movie collapses at the end in a climax picked right out of the 'Lord of the Flies'. In a mish-mash of violence and the usual super human strength in characters under severe duress the film loses its central gravity and spins out of control into a B horror picture. Thankfully, it is right at the end.

The most important question for me is of course whether or not we even need a virus to make us commit unbelievable acts of violence? The answer is unfortunately not as ultimately reassuring as Mr. Boyle's good film.