MOVIE REVIEW: ‘Maggie’ Is Brimming With Emotional Tension

Maggie-Movie-Review

Film: Maggie
Starring: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Abigail Breslin
Directed by: Henry Hobson

Some say the film world’s obsession with the undead has run its course, but Maggie is proof there are still great stories to be told. It doesn’t hurt that it’s also a gorgeously shot feature, or that the lead performance from Arnold Schwarzenegger is one of his career best, but at its core Maggie is a straightforward z-flick that manages to find a bit of new ground amongst well-tread territory.

Maggie (Abigail Breslin) is sick. Several months have passed since a new disease started spreading across the globe. Scientists do not yet fully understand the virus, but they find it’s transmitted through bites. Victims appears normal at first, but over the course of several days or weeks they will change. There is no cure, but there is quarantine.

Before she turns, Maggie is allowed to return home with her father (Arnold Schwarzenegger), who has been searching for his daughter for the last two weeks. He understands there is no hope for his little girl, but he won’t admit it. He can’t. The world may be falling apart before his very eyes, with infected crops leading farmers to literally set the Earth on fire in an attempt to save mankind, but still he holds out some sliver of hope that his daughter, his Maggie, will be the one exception.

That sort of emotional heft is not common in an Arnold Schwarzenegger film, but the longtime action icon carries it impressively well. His tired eyes gaze across the smoking fields of midwest America with a tired desperation. Breslin, no stranger to more emotionally-driven features, has the exact opposite role to carry out. There is no calm for Maggie. There is only the knowledge that soon she will cease to be herself. Soon the change will come and she will be something else.

What Maggie lacks in action it more than makes up for with commanding performances and picturesque cinematography that leaps from the screen with haunting beauty. Director Henry Hobson has delivered a story that, while somewhat predictable, keeps the viewer engaged from the opening frame with emotion instead of sizzle. There is a steady sense of tension that resonates through nearly every frame, with the painful knowledge of what is to come looming over every action.

There are moments when the story begins to drag, which is a little ironic given the characters’ longing for more time, but overall Maggie delivers a unique vision of a post-infected universe that lingers with viewers long after credits begin to roll. Every single person involved in this feature should be proud of the work presented. It could be better at times, but so could nearly every feature. The world of the undead needs a cinematic win right now, and Maggie is a quiet victory that will be talked about for years to come.

GRADE: B+

Review written by: James Shotwell

James Shotwell

James Shotwell is the founder of Under The Gun Review. He loves writing about music and movies almost as much as he loves his two fat cats. He's also the co-founder of Antique Records and the Marketing Coordinator for Haulix. You should probably follow him on Twitter.

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