Day Zero
review by Neo

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Year: 2007

Box Office: US$16,659

Director: Bryan Gunnar Cole

Producer: Robert Malkani, Anthony Moody, Daniel Sollinger

Screenplay: Robert Malkani

Starring: Elijah Wood, Chris Klein, Jon Bernthal

Genre: Drama

Tagline: An uninteresting failure with a competent display by Elijah Wood…

Review by Neo: To say I am disappointed, it is a clear understatement. It is rare that a film can possesses such a fine display from one of the co-stars in Elijah Wood, but still ends up a total disappointment. Day Zero doesnít work like a movie, it doesnít provide a movie experience, but at no times, does it feel real either. It is a film with an adequate premise about the possibility of drafting civilians into the war against terror. For once, I just cannot see any redeeming factor for this movie. With just Wood showing potential, the rest of the cast with Chris Klein in particular produces an emotionless and petty display that is more wooden than anything. Likewise, Jon Bernthal, tries hard, but fails to convince owing to lack of on-screen charisma. Basically, a film is bounded to fail, when the story does not work, nothing really tend to happen and along with fail performances from the leads. Day Zero is easily a big disappointment.

The movie goes like this: Three best friends are about to face the prospect of being drafted into national service on the war against terror. With just 30 days left, the film shows how different people react, feel and do in the remaining days before reporting on duty.

Letís focus on the rare display of positiveness coming out of this film. Elijah Wood has been trying for years to shed his image of being typecast as Lord of Rings and there is no doubting that he is one actor with potential to burn. I thought he was more than convincing in his role and the way he depicted the torment of an artist who is at loggerhead with the fact that he is going to be killing human beings face to face is almost daunting to endure. Being the only shining light in the film, including a memorable moment in front of the mirror where he screams at himself. It is certainly a rare moment of quality that fails to lighten up the dullness of the flick. As mentioned before, Chris Klein may have the leading man looks, but his acting is far too disconnecting to the audience. Despite having the chance to play a fairly conflicted role, Klein is not impressive and fails miserably. While, Jon Bernthal actually tries to act and does slightly better than Klein, it is needless to say that the guy has no on-screen charisma and perhaps will fit in better on the small screen than the big one.

All in all, Day Zero seems to want to express some sort of message about the divided opinion on the war against terror (i.e. how it is the other peoples' war or how we are defending our country), but in reality, it never hits on these issues seriously. Instead the film tries to focus on how people and humans react to this situation and how ordinary people will be affected by issues like these. While it is interesting to think about the prospect, the filmmaker fails to add an human touch to the proceeding and the effect is by the 45 minutes mark, the audience is looking at their watches, thinking, when is this film going to end. By the time, it ends, I am unable to feel or even try to feel for what has happened, as the film is impossible to relate to and almost difficult to connect. Day Zero is really a film that probably deserves zero marks, but for the performance of Elijah Wood, there are some brownie points given … (Neo 2009)

I rate it 4/10

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