Directed by Marc Forster. Written by Matthew Michael Carnahan, Drew Goddard, Damon Lindelof, J. Michael Straczynski, Max Brooks (based on the novel by). Starring Brad Pitt (Gerry Lane).
Bottom line: Standard big budget zombie movie; it has its thrilling moments but it isn’t particularly innovative and, yet, I've seen it twice.
Brad Pitt plays Gerry, a top former UN war crimes investigator. He left the service to spend more time with his wife and two daughters. A strange infection, initially thought to be rabies, envelopes the world in zombie chaos so, in exchange for the safekeeping of his family, Gerry goes back into service searching for the source (and a cure) for the plague.
This is a very global movie. We have the American Gerry, working with the UN as he drives from Philadelphia to Newark to a military base in Korea to Israel to Whales ultimately finding himself in Nova Scotia. If you notice in the trailer, Brad Pitt asks a man, “How do I get into Moscow?” The man answers, “Moscow is a black hole.” In the movie, they say India instead of Moscow. From what I hear, it was one of several production decisions made for marketing purposes.
One of the more interesting aspects of the film is the positioning of Israel. A week before the outbreak, the soldiers from the Korean UN military base send out an email with the word “zombie.” Everyone but the Israeli president ignores the email who orders the construction of a massive wall around Jerusalem. A week later, the zombie scourge planet is enveloped in the zombie plague. “What made you believe the memo,” asks Gerry. He explains that during WWII, they could not believe that Jews were being sent to concentration camps and they could not believe they would be attacked during the 1974 Olympics and they could not believe that they would be attacked despite Arab troop movements. He explains that there had to be a change otherwise, they could quite possibly be destroyed. What is the downfall of Jerusalem? They let anyone into the city. While charitable, once a Palestinian group starts singing songs of praise using a megaphone, the noise draw zombies who overrun the wall.
Gerry meets an Israeli soldier named Segen (Kertesz). In a dash to escape, a zombie scratches her hand and, to prevent the spread of the disease, Gerry cuts it off. To what extent can we examine this sequence with respect to the larger role Israel plays in the movie and to what extent can we look at this as a statement about US/UN/Israel relations? Allegedly, North Korea pulled the teeth out of every one of its citizens to prevent people from spreading the disease through bites. We hear this story from a former CIA agent (who was caught selling guns to North Korea) whose teeth have been removed. The role each of the nations seem to play within the movie is interesting. It's one of the reasons I've seen this twice (and why I wouldn't mind seeing it again).
I don’t really have too too much else to say about this movie. Brad Pitt does a great job. It doesn’t feel like a long movie. It is more thrilling than scary. It would be fun to see on a Friday night or Saturday night in the comfort of one’s home.