13 August 2017 | Ben-Hibburd
The Girl with all the Gifts Review.
The Girl with all the Gifts is an eerie, strange, somewhat under-seen gem from director Colm Mccarthy. The film opens incredibly strong, I went into this film knowing absolutely nothing about it, which is the best way to approach this film. It starts with a British school teacher Helen(Gemma Arterton) who is teaching a classroom full of chained up children in an underground bunker. The audience is given next to no information as to whats happening, which is very effective and makes us sympathetic towards the children's situation. It's made even more effective when children are sent to the base doctor, Dr. Caldwell(Glenn Close) in which they are never seen again.
When the film finally reveals it's hand sympathies flip, and it becomes evident as to why the soldiers and medical staff are so afraid of the kids. This goes doubly for the girl with all the gifts Melanie(Sennia Nanua) who displays incredible abilities, along side brutal savagery. During the course of the film she develops a connection to Helen, so when she's next to be experimented on it's up to Helen to save her. As this happens the base becomes compromised and it's down to Helen, Melanie, Dr. Caldwell and Sgt. Parks(Paddy Considine) to navigate through the hostile, dilapidated ruins of Britain to join up with other survivors and try and find a cure to a fungal disease that has ravaged the planet.
The first thing I have to mention is the hauntingly creepy, ethereal score by Cristoba Tapia de Veer. It's an uncanny, eerie piece of work that is unnerving and adds extra layers upon the tone and atmosphere of the film. The direction of the film is just as strong, seeing familiar sites being reclaimed by nature is stunning to look at, and reminded me a lot of The Last of Us video game. The only negative aspect to the cinematography was that a-lot of scenes were a bit too washed out with greys and browns, which felt a bit dull during the forest scenes in the film. The film also boasts strong performances across the board, with the standout being Sennia Nanua as the young girl Melanie. She managed to not only hold her own against veteran actors, but delivered a phenomenal performance despite this being her debut feature.
My only real complaint I had with the film is one that is inherent in the Zombie/infected genre itself. It treads a-lot of the same ground that these types of films have done before, So at times it feels like you are going over same beats of previous films. What separates this film from the sea of recent infected films is its incredible soundtrack, beautiful floral cinematography, and its focus on its characters rather then action set pieces. The film has no problem taking a few minutes to slow down and explore its characters.