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  1. #1
    Senior Member Country: UK DB7's Avatar
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    Film-makers on film: Chris Gorak



    (Filed: 09/09/2006)





    The director of US thriller Right at Your Door talks to Marc Lee about Danny Boyle's 28 Days Later (2002)

    Chris Gorak's heart sank when he heard about 28 Days Later. He had just completed the screenplay for his first film as director and Danny Boyle's sci-fi horror movie seemed too close for comfort.

    Lost in London: Cillian Murphy takes on a nation of zombies in 28 Days LaterBoth are set in the aftermath of toxic apocalypse, and Gorak's immediate response was, "Oh no, someone's beaten me to the punch; I'll have to shelve my script."

    When he finally saw Boyle's film, he was "blown away". "It was so brilliant, it just made me more excited to make my movie, particularly seeing what they had done creatively on such a tight budget."





    In 28 Days Later, bicycle courier Jim (Cillian Murphy) wakes up in hospital to find the entire building deserted. When he wanders out into the streets of London they, too, are empty. It seems he's the last man alive, until he steps into a church and a slavering priest screams out of the shadows. He is rescued by Mark and Selena, who reveal "the bad news": a virus has ripped through the population, turning them into flesh-eaters.





    After they chance upon an uninfected father and daughter in a tower block, this small band of survivors heads north to a secure Army outpost near Manchester. For quite unexpected reasons, they soon wish they hadn't.





    In Gorak's own nerve-jangling film, a series of "dirty bombs" is detonated across LA. As clouds of poison drift towards the suburbs, Brad seals up his house from the inside – just before his wife Lexi stumbles back from the city covered in toxic dust and coughing up blood. She wants to come in; he has other ideas…





    There are similarities between the two movies. For instance, both central characters are thrust into situations in which help is promised but not delivered. The authorities are either non-existent or impotent, a reflection, says Gorak, of how the certainties we once took for granted have been undermined since 9/11.





    But, Right at Your Door is, in effect, a tortured love story, whereas 28 Days Later is unashamedly a zombie movie, albeit one bursting with wit and invention. Boyle's film was shot on digital video (DV), giving it an unusual sharpness and immediacy. "It had such a gritty texture," says Gorak, who previously worked as the art director on such visually arresting films as Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, Fight Club and The Man Who Wasn't There.

    "DV was perfect for taking a new look at the zombie film. I think the camera they used was the Panasonic DVX100, which has this great quality that you can change the shutter speed, as if it were film, giving the zombies a frenetic, choppy, staccato movement. It was a brilliant idea, so different from presenting zombies in that classic 1950s way, where they come at you in slow motion."





    Jim's bewildered progress through the empty streets is perhaps the most memorable sequence in the film. There are plenty more striking images, one of Gorak's favourites being the scene in which Jim and the others climb to the roof of the tower block, where hundreds of buckets sit to collect rainwater.





    "It's such a simple ide, so graphically powerful," says Gorak. "They're talking about something else completely. The scene tells you all about the contaminated water without anyone mentioning it."





    A strong cast, including Brendan Gleeson and Naomie Harris, is headed by Murphy as Jim, who carries the film with cool confidence – another matter of regret for Gorak.





    "Cillian Murphy is great. And," he says ruefully, "if he hadn't done 28 Days Later, I would have pursued him to do my film. But you can't do two toxic movies one after the other, can you?"

  2. #2
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    i must say that i have not seen this one , but i must take a look

    thanks for the info

  3. #3
    Senior Member Country: England
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    28 Days Later was heralded as a milestone in British Cinema because of it's "shot on Video like film" approach. I thought it was self indulgent, predicatable tosh - a lost opportunity, maybe spoiling it for someone to take that great story idea and do it properly. The "shot on video" was very poorly implimented - abysmal camerawork, playing to the format's weaknesses rather than it's strengths. They may say it gave them unheralded flexibility in shooting...but the truth was it was done because it was cheap. The extra scenes shot for the ending were shot professionally on a much better format -and it shows.



    A film that is symptomatic of the malaise the UK film industry is in.

  4. #4
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    Spine, the "shot to format's weaknesses rather than strengths" is a statement I hope you'll clarify.



    There were a lot of action sequences that were full of frenzy, but for the life of me, I couldn't tell what was happening because of the jittery blotchiness, the reduced color degradation and a "Forest For The Trees" closeness that was probably intended to make the audience feel like we were in the midst of the madness.



    I could have told the filmmakers, "No, I'll be about halfway up the theatre aisles, with popcorn in my lap - I really won't confuse myself with 'being there'."



    It's an interesting technique, of course, and I appreciate it for what it does. Which seems to be less than it tries to do. Maybe in an IMAX format, I'd really believe the guy behind me reaching for my popcorn was actually going for my throat.



    Or if they switch to 3D, can I still keep my cute little cardboard green-and-red glasses?

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by ChristineCB
    Spine, the "shot to format's weaknesses rather than strengths" is a statement I hope you'll clarify.



    There were a lot of action sequences that were full of frenzy, but for the life of me, I couldn't tell what was happening because of the jittery blotchiness, the reduced color degradation and a "Forest For The Trees" closeness that was probably intended to make the audience feel like we were in the midst of the madness.



    I could have told the filmmakers, "No, I'll be about halfway up the theatre aisles, with popcorn in my lap - I really won't confuse myself with 'being there'."



    It's an interesting technique, of course, and I appreciate it for what it does. Which seems to be less than it tries to do. Maybe in an IMAX format, I'd really believe the guy behind me reaching for my popcorn was actually going for my throat.



    Or if they switch to 3D, can I still keep my cute little cardboard green-and-red glasses?


    Hi Christine,



    The things that were lacking technically were (in my opinion) where video can't cope with the extremes of contrast - it does not have the latitude. yet they seemed intent on shooting up into the sky frequently (in the transport cafe yard) - this gave us awful angles and bleached skies...it looked poor. I appreciate this was proably done to hide the busy traffic on the M6 in the background or whatever...but it was repeated regularly. The cameraman clearly did not know how to get the best out of the medium. The shot that was wholely unacceptable was the "hero" shot of the taxi progressing up the Motorway- camera tilts up to reveal the distant Manchester inferno. The tilt was wobbly- almost a novice student shot with a dodgy tripod. Why did they not shoot it again?



    Good video can look great, if shot with a craftsman behind the lens. Top Gear shows what can be done with DVCam and Digibeta -graded by a craftsman, without breaking the budget.



    Stylistically I felt the look was predicatable - don't have the budget? -shoot it dark, close up and lots of coverage in quick cuts. When i look at suspense masters such as Andromeda Strain, The Birds, Omega Man - all seem to use the camera to add to the desolation and danger, without resorting to hiding. Sean of the Dead managed it better than 28 Days Later.

  6. #6
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    Yes, these are the scenes that I considered blotchy (even in this so-called Colorized World) and too frenetic to be anything more than "stylish". And trendiness is a terrible Age-Dating factor if the filmmakers think about having their films endure from one style to another. Who doesn't snicker at Roger Moore's bell-bottoms as "he" sprints across the backs of crocodiles? Why would a horror film maker want his camera angles to inspire snickering at some later day?



    Even worse than snickering - some audiences will give up and consider it "boring". Not even worth a snicker. Oh well. That's the filmmaker's choice.



    Maybe he'll colorize it later as he's panning and puking over it.

  7. #7
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    Take a look at this 28 Weeks Later (2007)



    Danny Boyle didn't want this. We have another Wicker Man on our hands...

  8. #8
    Senior Member Country: UK image45's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by vicvoltaire
    Take a look at this 28 Weeks Later (2007)



    Danny Boyle didn't want this. We have another Wicker Man on our hands...
    another Wicker Man , this will be an on going problem for the rest of this century like sadly!

  9. #9
    Senior Member moonfleet's Avatar
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    ...by Dany Boyle, I've seen it yesterday for the first time, it's very powerfull, much harder in purpose than the last Romero, and very well done in intensive action, very original too.

    M.

  10. #10
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    "Very original"? I hope you keep looking thru this genre's history. I haven't seen the TDF schedule - it's coming thru Pau, yes?

  11. #11
    Senior Member moonfleet's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Buffalo_Chuck
    "Very original"? I hope you keep looking thru this genre's history. I haven't seen the TDF schedule - it's coming thru Pau, yes?
    Original means diferent, rooted to "Night of the Leaving Dead" but different as it sets on England( an island) and by speedy actions, as zombies are not so slowed as usually represented, but I'm not intensly documented about all films on this headline, even if, in Pau town, I believe there are lots of "infected", but maybe it's just cinematogaphic parano�a, I just hope so.....

    I'd rather, in a more poetic way " I Walked With a Zombie" by J.Tourneur, do you know it ?

    Also, "28 days..." is powerfull by its political meenings, and I like this point of view too .

    M.

  12. #12
    Senior Member Country: UK DB7's Avatar
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    I think Wyndham was more of an influence on Garland and they were seeking to make a sci-fi rather than zombie slasher movie. The opening sequence from the hospital bed to a deserted Westminister Bridge seems to be a nod towards Day of the Triffids.



    The follow-up sans Boyle was far more of a pure action/horror, and had a very slim plot.

  13. #13
    Senior Member Country: Ireland Edward G's Avatar
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    I agree on this. Most Zombie flicks are just there for the cheap laughs and gore but this movie is a very original treatment of a well-worn genre. The surreal shots of a deserted London. The grim humour and nervous courage of the survivors. The considered use of music - especially the sequence where one survivor revisits his now home and reads the moving suicide note of his parents but also as a device for racking up the sense of terror in the well mounted attack scenes. As a spectacle and a drama it stays with you long after seeing the movie....





    Quote Originally Posted by moonfleet
    ...by Dany Boyle, I've seen it yesterday for the first time, it's very powerfull, much harder in purpose than the last Romero, and very well done in intensive action, very original too.

    M.

  14. #14
    Super Moderator Country: UK batman's Avatar
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    I thought 28 Days Later was a steal from both Romero's films and ....Triffids. There were times when I thought I was watching a composite remake of two or three 'zombie films', I found it completely devoid of anything original.



    I Walked With A Zombie is the best zombie flm ever, followed closely by Lugosi's White Zombie. Both films create an atmosphere of horror and dread without resorting to blood and gore. Marvellous film-making.

  15. #15
    Senior Member moonfleet's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Edward G
    I agree on this. Most Zombie flicks are just there for the cheap laughs and gore but this movie is a very original treatment of a well-worn genre. The surreal shots of a deserted London. The grim humour and nervous courage of the survivors. The considered use of music - especially the sequence where one survivor revisits his now home and reads the moving suicide note of his parents but also as a device for racking up the sense of terror in the well mounted attack scenes. As a spectacle and a drama it stays with you long after seeing the movie....
    Yes, the scene when Jim revisits his home is really stirring....

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    I'm still chuckling over "very original". Very funny line. The invitation to explore many many more of this genre will show how funny that line really is.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by DB7
    I think Wyndham was more of an influence on Garland and they were seeking to make a sci-fi rather than zombie slasher movie. The opening sequence from the hospital bed to a deserted Westminister Bridge seems to be a nod towards Day of the Triffids.



    The follow-up sans Boyle was far more of a pure action/horror, and had a very slim plot.


    The scene of the hospital is very much like The Day of the Triffids, where Howard Keel awakes and finds that he is alone and has to make sense of the situation. Both films show a wreaked double decker bus. The earlier film shows a London Transport RT bus and the later an RM/Routemaster. I also thought the scene when they stock up with supplies at a supermarket in London and the music reminded me of The Dawn of the Dead (1978). However, when they stop on route to re-fuel as in DD, I thought the similarities were a bit too near. The acting by Naomie Harris was very poor indeed.



    28 weeks later also goes down hill and becomes even more ludicrous, there were so many things wrong with it, but the scene down in the underground were stretching things to say the least. With all the possible places in London, you bump into your Zombie dad, Robert Carlye, down in Charing Cross tube station, what are the odds of that happening. Also after 28 weeks you would need scuba gear to use the London Underground because it would be completely flooded, as every day millions of gallons of water have to be pumped away to stop it flooding.

  18. #18
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    This movie is one of the best Britain has ever made. I was petrifried, but I loved it. The acting is excellent, the set are eeire and the "loneliess" astounded me. Even though they set parts of London off to film Murphys walking towards Parliament, I still felt that he was the only one alive!

  19. #19
    Super Moderator Country: UK batman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MovieLover12
    This movie is one of the best Britain has ever made. I was petrifried, but I loved it. The acting is excellent, the set are eeire and the "loneliess" astounded me. Even though they set parts of London off to film Murphys walking towards Parliament, I still felt that he was the only one alive!
    I fell asleep .... I found it to be a crashing bore.

  20. #20
    Senior Member moonfleet's Avatar
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    In general, I'm not motivated for sequels, but one told me that this was a good one, I saw it and I felt disapointed.... the "rythme" is very speed, like a long video clip, too much sequences make me sick and prevent to appreciate the whole meaning.



    MooN.

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