Arnold Schwarzenegger is now back to full-time movie acting but he seems to be taking a few more off beat roles. As well as the usual action films there have been a couple of titles that take into consideration that he is no longer classed as an action hero. On the face of it, the film Maggie appears to be well within his comfort zone. You can definitely see him in a film about the aftermath of a Zombie plague. The difference being that in Maggie he is a concerned father of an infected daughter and has not specialised military training.
It is the aftermath of the outbreak of a plague known as the turn. People get infected through bites and over the course of about eight weeks they change into flesh eating zombies. Wade (Arnold Schwarzenegger) has just found his daughter Maggie (Abigail Breslin) in a Kansas City hospital. She has been infected and has only a short time before his daughter becomes infectious. He decides to take her home so she can have some quality of life before the inevitable demise.
This is a very different role for Arnie. For once he is called upon to do some serious and thoughtful acting. He is surprisingly good with a real emotional aspect to his performance. He is able to totally tone down his acting style to accommodate the requirements of the character and it adds to the mood of the film. Throughout the film he is faced with the prospect of losing his daughter as he lost his first wife. Through his silence and the way he carries himself you get the impression that there is a weary sense of inevitability about the whole thing.
Abigail Breslin is an actor that gets better with every role. She handles the title role of Maggie with consummate ease. It is her scenes with Schwarzenegger that make the film so interesting. It feels like there is a real father/ daughter bond there and you get the impression that the situation is really tearing them both to pieces inside.
The film has a very somber feel to it. With so many people dead or dying there is a lack of essential services. So no electricity and the absence of the associated noise associated with its use. The landscapes, both urban and rural are bleak. The colour palate for the film is all muted browns and blues which add to the sombre tone. The score from David Wingo fits the visuals perfectly. It is low key and adds to the overall effect rather than emphasising certain scenes in particular.
It was good to see that the film used the Zombie plague as an element to hang the family drama on. It would have been all too easy to include more gore and action. This would have made the film totally unbalanced and detracted from the great performances.
Overall, a surprisingly low key and emotional performance from Schwarzenegger that really makes the film an interesting watch. Recommended.