Saturday, 1 October 2016
'The Girl With All The Gifts' Review
In a dystopian future, the human race is being wiped out by a fungal infection that is turning them into zombies that they call 'hungries'. In a military base, there is a class of young children who turn into hungries when close to unprotected human skin. One of these children is the polite and incredibly smart Melanie (Sennia Nanua) who develops a close relationship with her teacher Helen Justineau (Gemma Arterton). When Melanie is taken to be killed for research, the hungries break in and interrupt the process before it happens. A group led by Sgt Eddie Parks (Paddy Considine) escape with Melanie as they look to survive in the outside world, using Melanie's abilities to their advantage.
'The Girl With All The Gifts' goes for the route of fast pace zombies similar to the '28' films but also includes a cleverness in some of them. The children for an example are fairly clever and can learn despite also being able to turn into blood thirsty monsters. Not only does that happen with the children in the army base, but we later find kids completely infected by the disease. This was an interesting look as we seen this group of zombified children use tactics to take out trained soldiers. Something that seemed fairly fresh and took a look at these creatures not completely losing their minds. With so many films in the sub genre, the idea felt fresh, creating a different experience compared to the likes of 'The Walking Dead'.
Despite that, the film doesn't really explain why these children are like his or can do these things. We have no idea to why the kids can turn back into seemingly harmless children after losing their minds wanting to eat. This seemed odd and a small explanation would've solved this but it never happened. Not much detail was given to this and seemed to be ignored which felt lazy. The film is based off of a book which probably has more detail in it which makes it seem even more strange that there wasn't an explanation at all. The way that the children turn back into their normal selves is also completely skipped over as well. Although it is an interesting look at this version of zombies, I feel it was slightly lazy.
The film introduces us to child actress Sennia Nanua who was OK in her role as Melanie. The emotional connection between her and Gemma Arterton's character never really impacts you that much which does hold the film back as it it based on the relationship the two have. The performances together didn't work as well to give the film its full impact but still did a reasonably good job. Nanua seems to do better playing off the Sergeants like Paddy Considine's character as her kindness and pluckiness is a good contrast to the more serious characters. Considine shines as Sgt Eddie Parks and really surprised me. Having seen him in a few things- mainly comedies like 'Hot Fuzz'- I didn't expect him to do so well in such a serious role. Glenn Close is also magnificent as Dr Caroline Caldwell who looks to create a cure and due to this she always seems as if she's up to no good although she is trying to save humanity. Close and Considine put in great performances, adding interesting aspects away from the two main characters.
The film did an incredible job of showing the fungal effect on London - where the film is set - as recognisable landmarks were covered in vines as the infection grew and grew. Some great visuals backed this up with the likes of Wembley Stadium and Big Ben amongst the places that were severely effected. The film can also boast some incredibly well crafted scenes that will match some of the best this year. The scene where the zombies finally break through contains the best crafted moments with fantastic use of continuous shots and screen space.
Although the film contains zombies, it isn't entirely a horror that will try to scare you and the film knows that. Don't expect a whole bunch of scares from this movie as the relationship between Melanie and the small group is the main focus. Morally complex at times as humanity looks to survive but we all know that it would be hard to give up someone you love regardless of the situation. This added a great layer to the movie and took the situation in a new direction whilst keeping but toning down on the horror aspects.
Overall, 'The Girl With All The Gifts' is an interesting new look at a sub genre that seems to be ever present in Film and TV. A good film overall with some great performances and an interesting enough story make this film worth seeing.
Final Verdict =
So have you seen 'The Girl With All The Gifts'? If so, what did you think of the film? I hope that this review was useful for if you were planning on seeing the movie! Once again, thank you for taking the time to read my review, it is much appreciated!
By Angus McGregor