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Maggie (2015) is a zombie film but not of the traditional kind. Those expecting a bloody splatter film, where Schwarzenegger’s shotgun sends zombie brains across small town walls are going to be disappointed.
However, those ready to see Arnold in a character role unlike seen before are going to be delighted and maybe even surprised.
Arnold, 67, is in a great shape. I met him last October when he visited Helsinki as one of the key speaker’s at a motivational seminar directed to entrepreneurs. His thick muscles pushed against his dark suit and my wide angle lens barely caught his big frame when he stopped in front of me to greet his fans. Naturally, the first thing Arnold did when he arrived in Finland was to hit the gym.
In Maggie, Arnold plays a protective father, Wade, who dearly loves his daughter, Maggie, (Abigail Breslin) who has been bitten by a zombie. The zombie plague is spreading across the small rural town where son after son and daughter after daughter are taken to the quarantine, where they are treated inhumanely. Wade is having none of that, at least when it comes Maggie.
Arnold’s face is covered in a beard, he wears a plaid shirt; his style passing the qualifications of the Lumbersexual except Arnold’scharacter is the real deal: instead of carrying a laptop in his hands he is carrying an axe – or a shotgun – whenever necessary.
The pain and tears of the worried father communicate with the viewer unlike in Arnold’s previous films, as he observes his daughter slowly changing into something savage and cannibalistic. Somewhere, in deep, he knows that he might even have to kill her if things get out of hand. Arnold’s acting as a character facing his most difficult life choice is superb.
Maggie is Henry Hobson’s first direction on the silver screen, a slow-paced piece, where the camera shakes when it’s supposed to and the unsaturated blue prevails in many scenes. There is not much humour in the story but the warmth between the father and the daughter is clearly observed by the viewer which makes following the film painful but exciting.
There is a stepmother, Caroline (Joely Richardson) involved as well, but the relationship with her and Maggie is colder, which further intensifies the relationship between the father and daughter.
And then there’s the ending, which sent chills across my spine . . .
Maggie is shown across the theatres on May 29 and in addition can be rented as a Premium VOD film from Elisa Viihde, Itunes, SF Anytime, Film2home, Plejmon, Viaplay, Google Play and Makuuni’s online services starting from June 12.