Review: Day Zero

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Elijah Wood (Lord of the Rings), Chris Klein (American Pie), Ginnifer Goodwin (Big Love), and Jon Bernthal (The Class) star in Day Zero (now available on DVD), the story of 3 friends who have 30 days to report for military duty, as a result of the newly reinstated Military Draft. A decent film that had some flaws, but overall enjoyable to watch.

The official description is:

In his feature film debut, director Bryan Gunnar Cole imagines an otherworldly America in the not-too-distant future where the draft has been reinstated to fight the global war on the terror and a new generation is face with the prospect of military service. In the center of it all are three conflicted friends: Aaron (Elija Wood), a budding novelist; George (Chris Klein), a corporate lawyer; and Dixon (Jon Bernthal), a cab driver.

The Good:
Elija Wood’s performance was excellent (of course). He played the conflicted, dual-personality writer with perfection. He has a way to make himself so much part of the character that draws you completely in. Ginnifer Goodwin, for her brief time on screen (see the bad), was simply engaging. Every scene she was in, your focus was completely on her. Also, Jon Bernthal put forth a performance I hadn’t seen from him before. His strong, conflicted character was the star of the movie, even given some of the terrible dialog he had to say.

The Bad:
Chris Klein was dreadful in this movie. His expression never changed, and I was never able to identify with him at all. Ginnifer Goodwin was wasted playing his wife. Her longest scene was relegated to one not part of the narrative (video tape). The editing was all off. We jumped from place to place, time to time, without much guidance. Also, being called “Day Zero”, I would have expected at least a feeling of how many more days they had until ‘the day’. We only got 3 points in a time-line: 30 days, next Saturday, and tomorrow.

What could be good or bad was the lack of a single message in the film. It bounces, unconvincingly, from pro-war to pro-peace, sometimes in the same scene which takes you out of the film. Having both sides of the issues represented in the movie would have worked, if they hadn’t made the arguments so weak.

Conclusion:
“Day Zero” had allot of potential. One could imagine that it would have been better had it been picked up for theatrical release and had a second look. I get the feeling what we got on the DVD was the directors cut. I give it a “Good to See”.

For another review, go here.