Day 28: 28 Days (2000)

I still haven’t seen Gravity at the cinema, and while this mid-career offering from Sandra Bullock isn’t exactly the next best thing, it certainly serves as a reminder how effortlessly she can carry a film. It was also available on Netflix when 28 Days Later was nowhere to be found. I’ll put that one on the list for next year.

28 Days is a strange hybrid of a film – part comedy fluff, part-preachy morality tale, neither of which really emerge victorious. This makes for some uneasy tonal shifts as it veers from laughing at the motley bunch of rehab inmates (step forward Alan Tudyk) to oh shit, the troubled teen just died of an overdose.

Sandra Bullock plays a high-flying, fast-living journo, who, together with her English (read: constantly sozzled) boyfriend, wreaks havoc at her sister’s po-faced wedding. While her drunken dancing looks like (dare I say) normal exuberance when faced with such humourless disapproval, her subsequent theft and destruction of the nuptial limo while several times over the limit might be pushing things a bit far. Faced with the choice of jail or 28 days of rehab, she opts for the latter, hoping to ride it out and carry on as before.

Needless to say, she soon begins to see the error of her ways, ditching the corrupting boyfriend and starting her life afresh. Whether that’s mainly an effect of group therapy, the afore-mentioned suicide, or Viggo Mortensen looking pretty, is open to debate. But Sandra Bullock gives a charismatic performance and manages to hold it together despite the sentimental and somewhat predictable trajectory. Special mention should go to Dominic West as the boyfriend – livening up every scene he’s in and providing a dose of down-to-earth debauchery that stands as a welcome antithesis to the film’s moralizing message.

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