Cast: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Abigail Breslin, Joely Richardson, Laura Cayouette
Director: Henry Hobson
Maggie could well be an allegory for the human condition and the love of God for man. Helmed by Henry Hobson, the movie stars action star Arnold Schwarzenegger as a father (God?) caring for his only, sick child (the titular Maggie representing tainted humanity) Maggie (beautifully acted by young Abigail Breslin) is not alone in her predicament. The 16 year old teen is part of a rural community which is afflicted by a rare virus that rots and decays their bodies and turns them, eventually, slowly, pitifully, into cannibals. In his role of robotic care-taker of mankind’s boy saviour in the Terminator series, Arnold Schwarzenegger resorted to mayhem, thrilling adrenaline junkies. Here, as Wade Vogel, a grizzled farmer and loving father trying to care for his mortally ill daughter, he impresses with his acting chops. As does Joely Richardson as Maggie’s stepmother, Caroline, who is unable to deal with the pressure and leaves. Wade disregards medical advice to kill Maggie or commit her to a centre where the “zombies” are subjected to an exceedingly painful treatment that could alleviate their dire condition somewhat.
But the theme of unconditional love is, vitiated, in your reviewer’s humble opinion, by the promotion of suicide and mercy killing (suggested by a doctor no less). It boggles the mind that doctors who take the Hippocratic oath to heal and save life should actually support its termination in violation of the ancient (2,500 year-old) oath which states, categorically in one section: “And I will not give a drug that is deadly to anyone if asked, nor will I suggest the way to such a counsel.” The film also indicates that Heaven awaits the good who commit suicide, again, a theologically flawed position for suicide is not the same thing as martyrdom. How does the story end? Beautifully photographed with top-notch performances, the film could have been nihilistic, given the circumstances. It is interesting that Hobson chose the horror genre to explore the moral dilemmas faced by humanity.