28 Weeks Later and The Prestige

Kelli’s been out of town, so in order to keep myself out to trouble, it was time to watch some movies. Herein lies the reviews:

28 Weeks Later: 28 Days Later was a pretty decent film. It was well shot, well acted, and had a very solid plot that had a pretty damning vision of humanity and how it breaks down in the face of adversity. It was scary as a horror film, and left you feeling a little unsettled at the end.

28 Weeks Later on the other hand provides little other than shaky, confusing camera work and lots of running. The beginning has a lot of promise. We have a guy who has to make a terrible choice, and who later lies to his kids about it to hide his shame. We have an occupation of London by US troops. We have children full of moxy. But the movie goes quickly down hill after about 30 minutes. A lot of the story telling that seemed carefully crafted in the first half hour is completely thrown out in about 10 minutes, and the rest of the film is a buddy/kid/chase film with zombies. I don’t think it’s giving away too much to say that almost everyone dies, but you haven’t spent enough time with them to care.

Once the zombie apocalypse starts, it’s time for the crazy camera to take over, and it’s used to nauseating effect over and over and over. It does a good job of making you feel unsettled, but that’s chiefly because you can’t follow anything that’s happening on the screen.

The plot is also full of things that only barely make sense, and lots of outright stupidity on the part of the characters both before and after the zombies. The viewer is asked for great suspensions of disbelief, and forgiveness for a lot of just lazy scripting.

This movie had a lot to live up to, and it fell far short. Had it been just another zombie movie, it would have been just mediocre. But connected to 28 days later, it really disappoints. Wait for the DVD.

The Prestige: Did you like Momento, or Batman Begins? Then chances are you’re going to like Christopher Nolan’s movie about turn of the century magicians. It’s a complex script that contains a lot of elements, but Nolan really shows off his ability to weave many threads into a comprehensible, compelling story-line. Wolverine and Batman both turn in very solid performances as well.

For me, Nolan doesn’t do enough to establish motive for the events that take place near the end of the film, where one characters actions are verging on insanity. There’s no feeling of unraveling control that would lead to what we end up seeing.

But ultimately, it’s a small criticism of a very well executed film.

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