The ONLY reason why this film was nominated for an Oscar is simply because it is topical, practically ripped out of the recent headlines. There are other far superior short films that deserved that nomination. However, the Oscars have been trying way too hard to prove that they're about equality for years now, even at the expense of better filmmaking.
It feels like the director wanted us to see the main character's world directly through her eyes, as in from the perspective of a woman grieving and suffering from loss and depression. That's why almost every location is dreary, cold, and isolated. This hinders any rewatchability for most folks, if you're anything like me.
The performances and situations were raw and almost TOO real...in fact, I'm pretty sure much of the supporting cast were not actually actors. This worked fine but there wasn't a lot of room for an enthralling script or plot for that matter. With that said, 'Nomadland' is a touching film with a great lead and an all-too-familiar story in America, where business and corporations are given priority over the people.
One of the most terrifying and sinister movies to ever see the light of day is, hands down, Danny Boyle's '28 Days Later,' a post apocalyptic frenzy of societal mayhem and global exodus that--for lack of better words--scared the shit outta me! Not literally, of course, but it's probably come the closest!
The 2-hour cinematic tour de force starts us off at the Cambridge Primate Research Facility, where disinclined chimpanzees have been deliberately infected with what one scientist referred to as "rage." A PETA-like group of armed protesters barge into the labs to salvage the afflicted beasts, inadvertently allowing the contagion to affect humans for the first time.
We skip forward to a dormant hospital in downtown London, where Jim (Cillian Murphy), a bicycle courier, has just awoken from a coma 28 days after all hell has broke loose. Oblivious to the catastrophic menace that has plagued his homeland, and perhaps the rest of the world, Jim is bewildered by the ominous cityscape that lays absent of human existence.
He finally comes across a pair of vigilantes, Selena (Naomie Harris) and Mark (Noah Huntley), who rescue him from the "infected," ravenous and demonic humans who have been altered to resemble figments of their past selves, preying on the uninfected and relentlessly hunting them down. The first thing that comes to mind would be zombies, but these vicious slaughterers are quicker, stronger and smarter than anything out of a George A. Romero movie.
After Mark succumbs to the terminal virus Jim and Selena find themselves alone in the abandoned metropolis until they befriend Frank (Brendan Gleeson) and Hannah (Megan Burns), a father and daughter remotely surviving within a high rise apartment complex. Together they adhere to their unprecedented circumstance and agree to leave the city for a soldier blockade near Manchester, where a pre-recorded radio transmission promises "the answer to the infection." They stock up on necessary--and some unnecessary--supplies and head for the uncertain army base that offers no guarantees of salvation.
On their arrival at the seemingly desolate concrete siege, Frank is suddenly stricken with the sickness, and before he is able to gorge his own disconcerted daughter, he is shot down by a group of pouncing soldiers, led by Major Henry West (Christopher Eccleston). The gunmen happily take in Jim, Selena and a grief-stricken Hannah, as they all take refuge in a local mansion, set up to allow the soldiers awareness of any unannounced visitors.
But, like the alluring sirens of Greek mythology, the troops have misplaced intentions, fixated on their deprivation of women and sex. Selena and Hannah find themselves the involuntary subjects of the men's carnal urges, while Jim is left for dead, or so they thought. A newfound potency emerges within the destitute Jim, who embarks on a rescue mission of the only two people he has left in his life. One by one, each soldier meets his maker, and the trio of outcasts run for the hills, waiting out the infection in a modest sanctuary located within the tranquil countryside.
Moments of sheer and utter terror run rapid in '28 Days Later,' subdued by disheartening compassion, fleeting melancholy, and transient wit, cased within a bleak setting that has been immaculately captured by a director who obviously knows what he's doing (and who has since gone on to helm 'Slumdog Millionaire'). Well-placed imagery and a haunting tone (composed by John Murphy) encompass this stylistic piece of horrific art, telling of a nightmare that tip-toes on conceivability, albeit improbable. There in lies the ultimate fear of Boyle's magnum opus of horror, knowing that a communicable virus could easily signify the collapse of a species such as ours, spreading like wildfire until humankind runs its course. Rent it, borrow it or buy it...whatever you do, see it!
*This review was originally written in 2009.
There are many fascinating tales based on actual events that are worth adapting for the silver screen, and then there's 'Open Water', a disappointing waste of time that somehow made a hefty profit at worldwide box offices. Mind you, so did 'Snakes on a Plane'!
Seven years after his first feature project, 1997's 'Grind', director-writer Chris Kentis had only $130,000 to work with, which is very apparent right from the get-go. I could only assume that not a considerable chunk of that budget went towards sound editing, cinematography, or a capable supporting cast.
The monotonous "thriller" recalls the true story of Tom & Eileen Lonergan (Daniel Travis, Blanchard Ryan), a married couple who embarked on a 1998 scuba diving excursion at the Great Barrier Reef only to inadvertently be left behind in the middle of the relentless Pacific ocean.
For nearly the entire 79-minute expose we are left to gaze at the unfortunate pair diving along with the current, and almost nothing else, with the exception of the casual shark spook. Tom eventually succumbs to a shark attack, leaving Eileen to fend for herself until she surrenders to the elements.
We, too, are finally put out of our misery, as 'Open Water' fades to black and the credits (none of which I would care to accept) begin to roll. Save the few bucks it'd cost you to rent this movie from your local Blockbuster, or pick up 'Jaws' instead!
This review was originally written in 2009.