06 January 2008
So, with all of this marathon movie viewing, it seems I forgot about stinkylulu's supporting actress blog-a-thon. It's probably too late to enter this, but I think I'll address it anyway.
There are already some entries for some of my favorite supporting performances this year: Marie-Josée Croze, Kelly Macdonald, Jennifer Garner, Margo Martindale, Saoirse Ronan (probably the year's best), Tilda Swinton, and Kristen Thomson. They all impressed me but, as they've already been addressed, I feel like singling out someone who, though not the best of the year, managed to surprise me in a film I never would have expected it from.
But first, let me just point out two lovely ladies who have also been overlooked thus far:
Romola Garai in Atonement
Emmanuelle Seigner in The Diving Bell and the Butterfly
Both delivered wonderfully heartfelt performances, but have been by and large overshadowed by their directors or fellow cast members.
And now, for the main event . . .
IMOGEN POOTS IN 28 WEEKS LATER
As I said, I don't mean to imply she gave the best supporting performance by an actress this year. Rather, in the interest of (let's be honest) trying to be a little different, I thought I'd talk about a surprisingly solid performance in a film you would probably not have expected it from.
I feel confident in calling Danny Boyle's 28 Days Later one of the best horror films of the last ten years. It was eerie, tense, well-acted and directed, and boasted one of the better horror film scores in recent memory. It became a surprise hit and, inevitably, spawned this year's sequel. Though it starts out promising enough, I couldn't help but be disappointed when it sunk back into old horror cliches and flaws in logic that the first film was able to avoid (though some would argue even that film went off the rails in the last third).
Despite all this, Imogen Poots still manages to give a mature and quite impressive performance as Tammy, one of the first children allowed back in the safe zone of London after the infection of the first film has been wiped out. With her piercing eyes and vulnerability, Imogen delivers from square one, providing something I would have thought impossible: a young role in a horror movie that does not come off as obnoxious or detrimental to the film's narrative.
While struggling with her father's news of the death of her mother, Tammy and her brother indirectly play a part in reintroducing the infection. The chaos that ensues in the aftermath of this throws Tammy into a situation she doesn't know how to deal with and forces her to commit acts no child or teen should be forced to do. The scene in which she SPOILER has to shoot her infected father, only to discover a bite mark on her brother, the last remaining family member she has left, is remarkably true to how a young person thrown into such a situation would feel and react.
Her fear is real, and, through the course of the movie, she will be forced to grow up and make decisions she could never have imagined. Horror films are at their best when the actors are in the moment, believing every infected human or creature from the deep is a threat to their survival.
Perhaps if the film had been a tad more interested in the challenges facing these two kids and less interested in overblown CGI and stock characters (Jeremy Renner and Rose Byrne's army officers, see above), it would have succeeded on a level closer to the original. As it stands, the film is a decent enough sequel with a few stand out performances (Robert Carlyle and Imogen) that could have been so much more.