Review: The Girl With All the Gifts

The Girl With All the Gifts
7 10

PLOT: In a dystopian future where society has broken down following a viral outbreak that started a zombie plague, a young girl (Sennia Nanua) may hold the key to mankind’s ultimate salvation – or destruction.

REVIEW: We’re quickly reaching a saturation point when it comes to movies about zombie outbreaks. With “The Walking Dead” on television, what’s the point? It takes a unique perspective to really make the whole genre worth exploring now, but THE GIRL WITH ALL THE GIFTS deserves kudos for at least trying something new and expanding the mythos a bit. If you’ve ever wondered what would happen to a baby if a pregnant woman was infected, this movie answers that question.

Based on the book by M.R. Carey, who adapts his own work, here the young girl, Melanie (Sennia Nanua), looks like a normal child – maybe even better than normal with her natural intelligence. But, there’s a problem. When faced with the scent of a person, she becomes rabid and bent on feeding – making her something of a part-time zombie. We learn early-on that she’s one of many children with the same problem, who are quarantined on an army base, where they’re watched over by a kind teacher (Gemma Arterton) and a doctor (Glenn Close), who thinks they may hold a key to curing the illness that has turned humanity into a zombie horde, or rather, “hungries”, as they’re called here.

Director Colm McCarthy, who’s best known from his British TV work on shows like “Peaky Blinders”, has made a gripping yarn on a low-budget, distinguished by a cast that’s far better than usual for the genre. It’s all anchored by young Nanua’s amazing performance, one utterly free of the cutesy-acting that mars many child performances, and a huge calling card for Hollywood. She’s really the lead over her bigger name co-stars, and a sympathetic one too; even though she’s not above snacking on the soldiers that look after her, or even a house cat at one point.

Glenn Close plays the semi-antagonist, being a tough doctor who wants to dissect Melanie in order to produce a serum that could potentially save humanity. Her motives are good, but one can’t help but hope Melanie will outsmart her. Paddy Considine plays the tough military man in charge of the base, but he’s three-dimensional, giving the impression of a guy who never wanted to play soldier suddenly faced with a huge threat he has to try and control.

Gemma Arterton probably has the most intriguing part after Nanua, being a teacher who can’t help but adore her prized pupil, even if the mother instinct may put humankind in danger. While short on action due to the budget (the setting is confined to a very small area of what’s supposed to be London), McCarthy stretches things pretty far; although it helps the drama is emphasized over anything else. The performances, mixed in with the sharp writing make THE GIRL WITH ALL THE GIFTS a worthwhile, sharp addition to the genre, even if it’s ultimately predictable and familiar given how oversaturated the genre has become. If you’re looking for a more high-brow zombie tale (so high-brow no one ever utters the “z-word”), this isn’t a bad choice.

Source: JoBlo.com



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