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"28 Days Later"
(4.5 of 5)

Directed by Danny Boyle
Starring Cillian Murphy, Naomie Harris, Brendan Gleeson, Christopher
Eccleston

Now here's a good movie. This is the story of a deadly (you bet your ass it is)
virus that gets let out in England. Lonely bike messenger Cillian Murphy wakes
up (totally nude, so cover your eyes after the title appears) in a London
hospital, then starts wandering around. He soon meets the city's new special
living (or dead) clientele, a wave of zombies who bleed out of every
and run like hell, screaming and roaring, after live flesh.

Before long, he hooks up with Selena (Naomie Harris), a spunky woman who's
learned how to survive, and joined forces with father Brendan Gleeson, who
takes his 15 year-old daughter along when they hear an army broadcast promising
salvation and safety a long drive away. This bizarre road trip leads to several
interesting and thought-provoking vignettes (which make more sense as a
statement on our world after multiple viewings) that are comic, surreal,
beautiful, violent, and terrifying.

The destination arrival closes the first half. After that, the group gets taken
in by a band of rowdy but purposeful British soldiers, led by Christopher
Eccleston (who I believe played a supporting Imperial officer in "Return of the
Jedi"), with a special plan to beat the zombies at survival. This is all I will
give away here, save for the fact that "28 Days Later" easily transcends the
bounds of the traditional (albeit, universally timeless) horror non-plot in
exchange for a more character-driven, unnerving film that works more as an
actual FILM than a mindless slasher excursion. The film has horror
elements,
but these are created by SUSPENSE, not gore. It's the way it used to be and
should be done.

Boyle has truly proven himself as the British Steven Spielberg in this film,
building off a reputation including groundbreaking films like "Trainspotting"
and showing he is adept at making an exciting film that also has plenty of time
to develop real, human characters and merge them seamlessly. With a low budget
and without special effects, his vision of a ravaged, barren England is a true
piece of movie magic with all the jaw-dropping power "Star Wars" used to have
and all the majesty, although dark, that "Lord of the Rings" and "The Matrix"
have shown in the past few years.

It's 9/6/03, and I currently vote this movie as my favorite film of
2003.

(Writer's note: Three more surefire good films have yet to be released yet this
year: "The Matrix: Revolutions", Ridley Scott's "Matchstick Men", and Quentin
Tarantino's long-awaited "Kill Bill: Volume One", so this film may have to
fight to hold the current spot I give it.)