• maggie •

You might not believe this, but I write only when I absolutely have to, when I am driven by a need, or a feeling, or a laugh so great that the joke comes bursting through – though this is no joke, and has no punch line, per se (and I have been putting this off, for another day), it’s time has come, and, for me, has come in more than one way, so as to coax me into talking to you, if it’s okay, a bit, about Maggie.
Maybe you’ve seen it.
Yes, it’s a dystopian social drama about yet another zombie apocalypse, or rather, post-zombie apocalypse, to be truthful: one might think that would be a bit like putting the coda before the horse, the denouement before the development, and it would be, except that, for me, this is not so much a zombie apocalypse flick, as it is a human story about a death in a family. Or rather, how a family deals with an unstoppable and terminal illness, only, your loved one might, just ‘turn’ on you, accidentally, and give you a bite, and hence, an incurable disease that turns you into a despicable nuisance, an undead EverReady bunny with no discernible sense of humor, rhythm, style, or social constraint (as if your kids weren’t eternally, and totally embarrassed enough, with you, as their parent, already, without any special ’emphasis’ on your overall, ‘weirdness’), oh, and with a bad habit of killing and eating everybody. Okay, no more jokes, and no more nastiness, I promise.
That said, now for the ‘tender bit’. (Oh, damn! I said I wouldn’t do that. Sorry!)
This movie has the unmistakable earmarkings of an ‘indie’ film: it’s got a character-driven plot, and heart, and features a cast of amazing actors, who give astonishing performances (like you’ve never seen), and, of course, the visual and musical and editorial sensibilities of a phenomenal director who knows precisely what he/she is doing. Maggie has it all, and is a hell of a good story. Kudos, Henry Hobson. (Dude.)**
As to the people, or characters, if you will, I won’t be saying much about that, though I could, and perhaps should, except in the interest of brevity, but suffice it to say that, if you don’t see this flick, dollars to donuts, I’ll bet that you’ll be wishing you had, someday. Fair enough? Okay.
Abigail Breslin is Maggie, a seventeen year old girl with the ‘zombie virus’, that takes days (or weeks?) to ‘change’ you into something, ‘other’ (as if being a teenager wasn’t hard enough), and to witness her conscientious courage, and vulnerability and valor, against diminishing odds, and a debilitating disease, and, to see her slow breakdown, in the form of physical and mental degeneration, as a ‘teen’ – to see her struggle to hold onto her identity, is beyond laudable, for such a young actor, and…and then, and I’m not joking, factor into the mix, if you can, the best damn work that Arnold Schwarzenegger has ever done, bar none (and these performances, though stunning, within themselves, are not limited to these: Joely Richardson, as the new stepmother, with her own small children to think of, is the epitome of laid-out, heart in her hand, disheveled, mommas making the best of a bad situation, everywhere, perfection, memorable and moving), have made this picture something very keen. Where was I, oh yes, Arnold!
To see this, well, icon (we are talking, Arnold Schwarzenegger, yes? I double checked: yes, it was he) – as a mere man, or rather, just a man (a farmer, in fact), with a terrible burden, whose heart is breaking, grizzled, careworn, dissipated by loss, with more losses looming, a dad with no good choices – is the ‘inspiration’, I mentioned at the outset, of this, to get me to writing again. Yes, I’ll say it again: Arnold Schwarzenegger blew me away.
(Talk about, ‘unexpected’, to be honest, I would have thought it impossible, to see from him, such honesty. It makes me hopeful. ‘Hell, he’s ‘over the hill”, I say to myself, and it’s as if he is a man newly born, artistically, ‘maybe there’s yet hope for me.’ But I digress.)
“Arnold, my boy, welcome to the fold, I like the new you, please stay,” I hear myself say.
Oh, man, I almost forgot (with, whatever that was, there – again, sorry) the writing! is the backbone of an exceptional horror/thriller, and a story with, how to say this, a ‘thinking heart’, so, well done, mister writer, sir. Congrats, John Scott 3.
Well, that’s about it, I guess…except to say, in this humble enthusiast’s opinion, with respect, friends, you simply must give Maggie, a ‘see’.
**(Maggie is a 2015 post-apocalyptic horror drama film directed by Henry Hobson, in his directorial debut, written by John Scott 3, and starring Arnold Schwarzenegger, Abigail Breslin and Joely Richardson.)
~ Tim Burchfield
2/23/17

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