The Girl with All the Gifts

 

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When a fungal infection wipes out most of mankind, a teacher and a scientist set out on a journey of survival - with a rather special girl.

    

Girl With All the Gifts


This post-apocalyptic thriller takes place in the near future where a group of children are held captive for experiments in a vast prison camp. Biologist Dr Caldwell (Glenn Close) is in charge of the project while the teacher Helen Justineau (Gemma Arterton) provides the children with imaginative stories, especially from Greek mythology. One of the children, Melanie (Sennia Nanua), loves her favourite teacher and is particularly impressed with the story of Pandora, with her gifts and above all her hope that she provides for survival.  When the base is taken over by outside forces, Melanie escapes to a deserted London along with Dr Caldwell, Helen and Sergeant Parks (Paddy Considine)...

 

Here is yet another take on the zombie phenomenon, but it’s treated with intelligence and style not unlike Danny Boyle’s 28 Days Later.... Director Colm McCarthy makes an assured cinematic debut following years of impressive television work (including Sherlock and Peaky Blinders) and elicits a tremendous performance from stunning newcomer Sennia Nanua, who is destined for a bright career. She delivers an intelligent performance as the eponymous heroine and holds her own particularly in the company of the scenery-chewing Glenn Close. Another impressive performance comes from Fisayo Akinade as the sympathetic soldier accompanying the group out of the base.

 

It is an intriguing film with a strong opening but does sink into zombie cliché towards the end. Still, it’s a decent addition to an over-familiar genre, and possibly destined for cult status.

 

GEORGE SAVVIDES

 

Cast: Gemma Arterton, Paddy Considine, Glenn Close, Sennia Nanua, Anamaria Marinca, Dominique Tipper, Fisayo Akinade, Anthony Welsh.

 

Dir Colm McCarthy, Pro Will Clarke, Camille Gatin and Angus Lamont, Screenplay M.R. Carey, from his own novel, Ph Simon Dennis, Pro Des Kristian Milsted, Ed Matthew Cannings, Music Cristobal Tapia de Veer, Costumes Liza Bracey.

 

Altitude Film Sales/BFI Film Fund/Poison Chef-Warner Brothers. 

110 mins. UK/USA. 2016. Rel: 23 September 2016. Cert. 15.