Tuesday, 12 May 2015


You only have to watch the trailer for upcoming zombie movie, Maggie, to realise it was never intended to be an Arnie action vehicle. Anybody expecting a World War Z clone with Schwarzenegger disposing of one-liners as fast as he ditches the undead might well consider this a divorce. Maggie is, at best, a thought provoking drama from first time director, Henry Hobson, whose career highlight thus far is the main titles design for The Walking Dead. 

At worst, Maggie shares a little something in common with The Walking Dead. Not the edgy, action-packed episodes of the series, you understand. This well-intentioned grief-stricken drama has more in common with the mid-season farmhouse episodes of season two; meandering, inconsequential and kind of dull.

A teenage girl (Abigail Breslin, Little Miss Sunshine) in the Midwest becomes infected by an outbreak of a disease that slowly turns the infected into cannibalistic zombies. During her transformation, her loving father stays by her side, struggling to let go of the one thing he cherishes more than life itself. 

Maggie is a film about loss. Maggie is forced to accept her own fate, Wade (Arnie) is urged to come to terms with his daughter's demise, and the rest of the family come to realise there is no going back. Joely Richardson plays the stepmother, as well as the voice of reason, taking the place of Maggie's dead mother. There's that word 'loss' again.

Arnold Schwarzenegger is great in this movie. His ageing frame is well suited to this particular role, a part that requires him to do most of his acting with tired looks, pained expressions and thoughtfulness. Even when he is asked to deliver a line he does it effectively. Breslin too is phenomenal. Maggie's slow-burning transformation is heartbreaking to watch, sold all the more effectively by Breslin's subtle turn. 

There are great moments scattered throughout, but not enough to keep the fires burning. The film's biggest failure is in its writing, and an ending that doesn't live up to the performances of its two stars. There is only one satisfactory ending to Maggie and Henry Hobson gets it completely wrong, working from a screenplay by John Scott 3, Hobson's resolution misses the mark completely. 

Strong performances and despairing visuals work in the films favour, but Maggie drags its heels from start to finish. Occasionally the film hits home, but not enough to keep your mind from wandering. Tragedy consumes this latest drama, particularly in the misfiring denouement. Disappointing. 

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