In a dystopian near future, humanity has been ravaged by a mysterious fungal disease. The afflicted are robbed of all free will and turned into flesh-eating 'hungries'. Humankind's only hope is a small group of hybrid children who crave human flesh but retain the ability to think and feel. The children go to school at an army base in rural Britain, where they're subjected to cruel experiments by Dr. Caroline Caldwell (Glenn Close). School teacher Helen Justineau (Gemma Arterton) grows particularly close to an exceptional girl named Melanie (Sennia Nanua), thus forming a special bond. But when the base is invaded, the trio escape with the assistance of Sgt. Eddie Parks (Paddy Considine) and embark on a perilous journey of survival, during which Melanie must come to terms with who she is.
In the book, Helen Justineau is described as a dark-skinned black woman in her 40's. Miss Justineau's dark skin is also a draw for Melanie, as the character states more than once in the book. Melanie also considers her teacher the most beautiful woman in the world. An excerpt from the book says; 'Although Miss Justineau's face stands out anyway because it's such a wonderful, wonderful colour. It's dark brown, like the wood of the trees in Melanie's rainforest picture whose seeds only grow out of the ashes of a bushfire, or like the coffee that Miss Justineau pours out of her flask into her cup at break time. Except it's darker and richer than either of those things, with lots of other colours mixed in, so there isn't anything you can really compare it to'. A short story written by Melanie in class describes Miss Justineau's general appearance: "Once upon a time there was a very beautiful woman. The most beautiful and kind and clever and amazing woman in all the world. She was tall and not bent over, with skin so dark she was like her own shadow, and long black hair that curled around so much it made you dizzy to look at her". Gemma Arterton, who is white, was cast for the role. She was in her late 20's when the film was shot. See more »
Whilst the movie was filmed in 2015 the panoramic shot of central London containing the 'Gherkin' also shows the old building at 20 Fenchurch Street, which was demolished in 2008, its replacement, the 'Walkie Talkie' was completed in 2014. See more »
This Grim And Gritty Gift Of A Movie Doesn't Disappoint
One film I was looking forward to in 2016 was THE PURGE ELECTION NIGHT but that ended up as a predictable disappointment . There was nothing else cinema wise that was on the horizon until I caught Mark Kermode's movie review on the BBC where he raved about a low budget British horror movie THE GIRL WITH ALL THE GIFTS . Catching a couple of short clips I was instantly intrigued and thought to myself how similar it was to Danny Boyle's 28 DAYS LATER . Despite Kermode's praise it's a film that seemed to disappear very quickly with little acclaim . Despite this I made a point of catching it first opportunity I got so what better way to celebrate the start of 2017 by watching the film that wins my award of the best film of 2016
Yes you read that right a low budget British zombie apocalypse movie is my favourite movie of 2016 . I know I didn't see too many films last year but even so this doesn't negate TGWATG in any way shape or form . It's only a zombie film on the surface and scratch away the wafer thin surface and you've something totally compelling and multi-layered
Okay let's get the very few negatives out of the way first . First thing is the central character Melanie is just far too knowing to be entirely convincing as a child , but I guess that's narrative convention . Secondly the first 15 minutes of the film builds up a lot of mystery as to who Melanie and the other children might be , but this mystery becomes totally redundant if you know what type of sub-genre you're watching . Thirdly the army unit is more cosmopolitan than the united colours of Benneton . For some reason every TV show and film has the British army being more racially diverse than Daesh/ISIS
Positives ? I'd just tell you watch the movie but that'd be too easy . If you're expecting a relatively straight forward take on 28 DAYS LATER you'll be very surprised because nearly everything here surpasses Boyle's film especially the story details . The quasi zombies nicknamed "Hungries" have suffered their condition due to a fungal infection and the fungus adds another obstacle for the human survivors to worry about. Some scenes are genuinely disturbing but the most chilling scene involves Dr Caroline Caldwell describe an incident in a maternity ward . Let's just say if you know anyone who is pregnant don't let them see this movie . Yeah it's only a movie but it's so intense and convincing that I'm glad I'll never get pregnant . In fact I'm glad of there being little chance of me getting anyone pregnant
With a budget of £4.000.000 director Colm McCarthy works miracles and the two best aspects are using an amorphous soundtrack by Cristobal Tapia de Veer which is oppressive and atmospheric in equal measure and McCarthy - "British foreign legion" aside - casts well . Gemma Arterton proves she's more than a pretty face , Close and Considene are better than usual and the real revelation is Sennia Nanua as Melanie who makes her feature film debut and this will certainly not be the last we'll be hearing from her
I don't want to over hype TGWATG but I was looking forward to seeing it and all expectations were surpassed by a very long margin . I should guard my back somewhat by stating once again by stating this is a grim . gritty but great apocalyptic thriller . I like these type of stories but even so I'm going to have trouble sleeping for a long time . It's undoubtedly the best horror film I've seen since THE MIST from ten years ago and just simply the best and most powerful movie I've seen in a long time
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