i've had a couple of interesting conversations recently about how reading testimonies and working with data on political violence has ruined my composure when it comes to media portrayals of violence. for example, yesterday i was chatting with dan, and said: "i really can't handle media violence that could conceivably be real. zombies and ghosts, fine; counterinsurgency, no way. random gun violence, even less ok."
partially in honor of my declaration, and partially because i knew meg would never come with me, dan and i went to the 9:30 showing of 28 weeks later, the sequel to 28 days later, the gory but very smart fast-zombie flick from 2002.
unfortunately for me, 28 weeks later features a whole chunk of real-world-y violence, more than i suppose i expected from the times review. in fact, on seeing the movie i think that the usual schtick about how zombie movies are "biting social commentary" (ha. ha. ha.) was used without much reflection on what this movie -- a startlingly different film from its predecessor -- actually has to teach us. that one was about the possibilities for mutually beneficial solidarity, even when the rest of the world turns hobbesian on you. this one...well, this one is about how the general was right when he said they should shoot that innocent civilian.
"green zone" aside, the iraq (vietnam, el salvador, whatever) parallels provided here are hardly of the leftist variety. i'll try and save some of the suspense (and, dear God, it is almost painfully suspenseful, this movie), but i think it important to point out the fact that 28 weeks later is essentially calling for a curtis lemay solution to its undead insurgency: the only military preventative for infection (zombies are known as "infecteds") is overwhelming firepower. the consequences of humanitarianism, according to the domino theory of ravening zombies presented here, include massive (necessary) civilian massacres by ostensibly peacekeeping forces and rapidly spreading global catastrophe.
bonus, however: the times review contains one of the best ratings tags i've ever seen:
“28 Weeks Later” is rated R (Under 17 requires accompanying parent or adult guardian). Rabid zombies feast on living flesh, which causes their potential victims to utter an occasional obscenity.