There’s a welcome breath of air that whistles in through this film. The Girl With All The Gifts removes itself from the cyclical narrative of ‘just survive’ present within 99% of zombie films. It aims for something loftier. Though falling short in obtaining the profundity it targets, McCarthy’s attempt to question the definition of life, and who deserves it, is intriguing.
Yet – to borrow a football analogy – a player may hit the crossbar with a beautiful shot, but it’s still a miss. To this end, the film noticeably contains a lot of almosts. The visuals have potential – thanks to some great location work – but low-budget CGI effects disjoint, and there’s a lack of poetry in the scenes before our eyes. As well as this, if you’ve got a trifecta of Arterton, Considine and Close and you don’t utilise their full potential, disappointment abounds. It was likely a mighty coup to get the six-time Academy Award nominee to sign on to a project of this size, so if you have Glenn Close, you had better fully use Glenn Close.
If anything, this film serves as a moment in history for the surely bountiful career of the extraordinary Sennia Nanua. The film relies entirely upon her, and she shoulders it with ease, giving notes of grace, ferocity and bravery throughout. It’s a wonder to watch a star being born, and if there is any justice in the world, this film will act as a springboard for a very long career.
Clear away the noise and hype, and watch The Girl With All The Gifts for what it truly is: a solid, well-meaning film in a tired genre that is blessed with having a star in its midst. Far from poor, but even further from the five-star hype circulating.
CAST: Gemma Arterton, Glenn Close, Paddy Considine, Sennia Nanua
DIRECTOR: Colm McCarthy
WRITER: Mike Carey (novel & screenplay)
SYNOPSIS: A scientist (Close), a soldier (Considine) and a teacher (Arterton) living in a dystopian future embark on a journey of survival with a special young girl named Melanie (Nanua).