Friday, June 21, 2013

WORLD WAR Z (2013)

Although based on Max Brooks’ apocalyptic novel, this epic zombie picture most closely resembles Danny Boyle’s jarring 2002 shocker 28 DAYS LATER. Whereas the earlier film began in the eerily quiet aftermath of an infection that turned the populace of Great Britain into rabid, swarming monsters, screenwriters Matthew Michael Carnahan, J. Michael Straczynski, and Drew Goddard & Damon Lindelof waste no time plunging us into the midst of a citywide panic at the onset of what we learn is a global epidemic. Ex-United Nations investigator Gerry Lane (Brad Pitt) escapes an overrun Philadelphia with wife Karin (Mireille Enos) and their two daughters thanks to a helicopter extraction care of former boss Thierry (Fana Mokoena). His family’s shelter on an aircraft carrier is conditioned, however, upon Gerry returning to fieldwork to locate the source of the plague and, accompanied by scientist Andrew Fassbach (Elyes Gabel) and a squad of soldiers, to find a cure. Gerry first arrives at a desolate and decimated military base in South Korea, only to find all the infected bodies burned. Former CIA operative (David Morse) suggests they travel to Israel where senior Mossad agent Jurgen Warmbrunn (Ludi Boeken) oversees security for the heavily fortressed country by retaining the undead masses outside its towering walls. There Gerry learns that the best hope for a vaccine may lie at a World Health Organization laboratory in Wales, which leads him onto one of the most harrowing commercial flights committed to film. Director Marc Forster sets a relentless pace, deftly handles both the large- and small-scale action, and elicits a surprisingly grounded performance from Pitt. With their willingness to kill off characters indiscriminately and dispassionately, the filmmakers maintain an air of dread seldom experienced in big studio summer fare. The film’s tense final sequence upends expectations further. Our hero achieves success, such as it is, not through weapons proficiency in an absurd shooting gallery video game, but through courage and willing sacrifice for a greater good – qualities too rarely on view in the movies these days.

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