This is another terrific Danny Boyle movie. He has a real knack for picking interesting stories, great actors and is an amazing director. This movie has an incredible feel about it and is full of amazing shots (very post apocalyptic, but also very real). It holds your attention the whole way through.
The movie starts off showing various acts of rioting and violence. As the camera pans back we see that the images are being shown on multiple TVs and the location is a lab. Come to find out the scientists have these poor chimps strapped down to tables and they are being forced to view all this violence just so the scientists can study the effect. Cue the animal activists, who then break in to free the chimps. They are told that the chimps are infected with “Rage” and are highly contagious. The virus spreads through blood and saliva. However, the activists don’t believe the scientist and before you know it they are all infected.
It’s now 28 days later and we are seeing a man, Jim (Cillian Murphy), in a hospital bed. He is laying there completely naked (yes, full frontal), hooked up to all kinds of monitoring equipment, IVs, etc. He appears to be just waking up and seems rather confused. You know what I noticed most about Cillian in this scene (no it’s not what you think, get your mind out of the gutter), what incredibly long, gorgeous eyelashes he has (I’m jealous).
Jim unhooks himself from everything, scrounges up some scrubs to wear and starts wandering around the hospital. It’s deserted and a bit on the trashed side. After a quick break to guzzle down a Pepsi, he heads outside. As he is walking through the streets of London, he finds that it is equally deserted as the hospital was. There are abandoned cars, trucks and buses everywhere; trash litters the streets. It’s very desolate and there is an ominous feeling in the air.
It doesn’t take too long until Jim has his first encounter with the infected and ends up running for his life. Luckily for him, two people come to his rescue. You can tell they have battled the infected many times before; they are organized and know just what to do to take them out. They take Jim with them to the convenience store that they are using as their home/base.
Jim’s rescuers are Mark (Noah Huntley) and Selena (Naomie Harris). They have both lost their entire families and are on their own. Jim tells them he is a bicycle courier. Last thing he remembers was being hit by a car while carrying a package, then waking up alone in the hospital.
Selena explains to him about the virus. How there is no longer any government, police, army, TV, radio or electricity. Jim is the first uninfected person they have seen in six days. They both try to make Jim understand the bleakness of the situation and how pretty much everyone is either infected or dead. He doesn’t want to believe that his family is most likely dead, so they finally agree to go with him to find out for sure.
Upon their arrival at his home, Jim finds out that his parents are indeed dead. Turns out, they committed suicide. Mark and Selena tell him that they were lucky, because they died peaceful deaths. Jim doesn’t see it the same way. You can tell both Mark and Selena have seen and experienced too much; they are so tough and hardened.
On their way back to the convenience store; Jim and Selena find two more survivors, Frank (Brendan Gleeson) and his daughter, Hannah (Megan Burns). They end up staying with them overnight. Frank has an emergency radio (the kind you crank for power) and plays a radio transmission for them. It is a pre-recorded message made by soldiers that says that they have the answer for infection and tells them a location to come to. After a bit of back and forth about the merits of going there, they finally decide that it probably their best hope and set out to find the soldiers.
Some of my favorite scenes (without being too spoilery):
The church scene is terrific. The look is fantastic with all of the bodies lying on the pews. Then Jim just had to go and say hello. You can probably guess what comes next. Ok Jim, for future reference don’t say “hello” loudly when you are in a church full of maybe dead/maybe not dead people; it’s not likely to go well. The writing on the wall of the church is just perfect, “the end is extremely f*cking nigh”.
When Mark and Selena rescue Jim from the infected. I like how after they have safely locked themselves into the convenience store, Mark starts telling Jim a really stupid joke (keep in mind Mark is still wearing his gas mask and they haven’t even introduced themselves yet). The look on Jim’s face is terrific. I get the feeling he thinks Mark is a bit mad.
It is such a fun scene when Jim, Selena, Frank and Hannah stop at a grocery store to stock up on supplies. Their main sustenance up until that point has been candy bars and sodas. They are all overjoyed to be able to run around the store and grab all the food they want. Obviously pretty much all the fresh food is spoiled, but there is still a huge variety of canned goods they can eat. It such a lovely, lighthearted moment for them. I particularly like when Frank tells Jim to only take the good booze and how he leaves his credit card at the register on their way out.
Cillian is absolutely amazing in the movie. His character goes from being confused and in denial, to acceptance of the situation and what he has to do to survive, to being the type of person that will do anything necessary to protect those he cares about. His portrayal is spot on, as you watch his body language and facial expressions you can see the evolution unfold before you. I also love the fact that although Cillian is not a big, muscular guy; he totally makes you believe that his perfectly capable of performing all the heroic acts that he does (it’s all in the attitude).
Some of my favorite quotes:
Jim – “Oh, I shouldn’t have done that. I shouldn’t have done that. Sh*t.”
Jim – “Please tell me what the f*ck is going on.”
Mark – “He’s completely humorless.”
Mark – “Ok Jim … I’ve got some bad news.”
Mark – “We’ll all go and find your dead parents together, okay?”
Selena – “Look, if someone gets infected, you’ve got between 10 and 20 seconds to kill them. It might be your brother or your sister or your oldest friend. It makes no difference. And just so you know where you stand, if it happens to you I’ll do it in a heartbeat.”
Jim – “What is it about tower blocks and shopping trolleys, huh?”
Selena – “Well, why didn’t you say something before?”
Jim – “Well, because I didn’t think you’d give a sh*t.”
Frank – “You’d never think it … needing rain so badly. Not in f*cking England.”
Frank – “Just so you know. I don’t take checks or credit cards.”
Jim – “No, no, no, then we should take the indirect route, the one that’s in broad daylight and that’s not underground.”
Jim – “No, no. No, see this is a really sh*t idea. You know why? Because it’s really obviously a sh*t idea. So, we’re just gonna drive into a tunnel full of f*ckin’ smashed cars and broken glass. It’s just really f*cking obviously a shit idea!”
Jim – “World’s worst place to get a flat, huh?”
Frank – “Mmm, irradiated.”
Jim – “Like going on holidays with your f*ckin’ aunt.”
Jim – “Oh, great, valium. Not only will we be able to get to sleep, but if we’re attacked in the middle of the night, we won’t even care.”
Jim – “Are you stoned?”
Selena – “It’s a long story.”
Following is additional information about the show that contains spoilers. If you don’t want to be spoiled don’t read any further.
Wow, the scene when Mark becomes infected is both amazing and horrifying. It is so intense as you watch the battle for life and death. Then to have Selena hack Mark up with her machete without even flinching. All the while, Jim is watching in shock and horror.
One of my favorite scenes is when they stop to eat at the site of some old ruins. The place is beautiful and has a peaceful feeling. There are even horses running about, oblivious to any of the trouble happening around them. It’s such a bonding moment for all of them. They become a family at this point and Serena finally sees (and acknowledges) that maybe there is more to life than just survival.
Yeah, Jim rescues Selena and Hannah from all the soldiers. I especially like when he takes out the soldier that is holding Selena captive. It’s amazingly heroic, but also kinda gross (especially the eye thing, yuck). Then to follow that with Hannah hitting Jim over the head with a glass vase because she thought he was biting Selena, when he was in actuality kissing her. I love how there are humorous moments like that intermixed with all the action and horror.