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maggie1

The backdrop of the zombie apocalypse is such a familiar trope that it has become a genre in its own right. Zombie romances, comedies and soap operas. And the zombie hoard has tackled a few big issues, racism, social isolation and exclusion, depersonalisation, mental illness, sexually transmitted diseases, I could go on.

But zombie movies are not supposed to make you cry, god damn it.

When you imagine Arnold Schwarzenegger in a zombie flick, you’d be forgiven for picturing shotguns, explosions and cheesy one-liners.

Maggie presents us with a very different Schwarzenegger. He plays Wade, the father of the eponymous teenager who has been infected with a zombie virus. The backdrop to events is not so much an apocalypse as a containment of the disease. The police force are sent in to forcibly remove infected individuals and take them to quarantine, once their time is up. Here they await a disturbing and painful death.

This is a drama about a father and daughter coming to terms with her death, while watching the horrific effects of the disease. Maggie and Wade want to live out her final days on their terms, but face a great deal of adversity.

Schwarzenegger is absolutely bloody amazing in this – he has never played a role like this before. He is understated, giving a touching and poignant performance. I didn’t rate Abigail Breslin as highly, although at the end of the film and in the more emotional scenes she does very  well. I think Joely Richardson is an appalling actress – but she wasn’t too bad in this.

I recommend seeing this movie to see Schwarzenegger’s performance and if you are interested on another take on the zombie genre. It is fascinating to see the drama from the perspective of the infected and their families. The film is poignant and moving but it is a bit of a painful slog to the inevitable conclusion. There are touching moments along the way but the whole experience is very sad and the end – when it arrives, is a relief.

It’s very well made, well acted and poignant but it certainly won’t be for everyone. If you enjoyed something like BBC’s In The Flesh, you will probably enjoy this. But have your tissues ready.

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