The Girl With All the Gifts

"Good"

The Girl With All the Gifts Review


Like a 10-years-later follow-up to 28 Days Later, this small British thriller takes a refreshingly original approach to the zombie genre. The most engaging difference is the fact that the central character is infected with a brain-eating virus, so the question has to be whether it's all bad. This introspective approach gives the movie a strong kick, and it looks great despite a small budget. So the film is involving and gripping even if, ultimately, there isn't much to it beyond a cool central idea.

The film opens with a school in an underground encampment, where soldiers guard children who are as heavily restrained as Hannibal Lecter. Their teacher Helen (Gemma Arterton) is friendly and open, as opposed to the sceptical Sergeant Parks (Paddy Considine). Dr Caldwell (Glenn Close) casually experiments on these youngsters to learn more about the virus, arguing that they're no longer human. But Helen has her doubts, especially with her super-smart pupil Melanie (Sennia Nanua). When the compound is overrun by "hungries", it's Melanie who helps Helen, Caldwell, Parks and guard Kieran (Fisayo Akinade) escape. And as they travel across a wasteland into London, they begin to wonder if there's any hope left for humanity as they knew it.

Director Colm McCarthy and writer Mike Carey keep these five survivors at the centre of the film, giving us people we can identify with as things get increasingly desperate. At each juncture, they make yet another grim discovery about this virus, forcing them to revamp their plan. This means that the film has a series of escalating set-pieces that are cleverly designed and very nicely shot and edited to build suspense and sometimes horror. It's also rare for a movie to take such an thoughtful approach to this genre, but then its three lead characters are strong, interesting women.

Arterton has the main role as a teacher whose mind is open to what seem like unthinkable realities. She has terrific chemistry with the bright young Nanua, who creates a vivid character with depth and a continual string of surprising textures. And Close is superb as the scientist who simply can't see beyond her own research. By comparison, Considine's Parks and Akinade's Kieran seem a bit simplistically manly, but they're likeable too. This collision of personalities makes for plenty of unexpected fireworks, plot twists and suspense. But the film is made in an observational style that never really draws the audience in emotionally. It's engaging and sometimes exciting, but it never resonates in a meaningful way.

Rich Cline

Watch the trailer for The Girl With The Gifts:



The Girl With All the Gifts

Facts and Figures

Genre: Sci fi/Fantasy

Run time: 111 mins

In Theaters: Friday 23rd September 2016

Budget: $533.8 thousand

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 3 / 5

IMDB: 7.0 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director: Colm McCarthy

Producer: Camille Gatin,

Starring: as Helen Justineau, as Sgt. Eddie Parks, as Dr. Caroline Caldwell, Sennia Nanua as Melanie, as Dr. Selkirk, Fisayo Akinade as Kieran Gallagher, Anthony Welsh as Dillon, Dominique Tipper as Devani

Also starring:

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