Of ‚??World War Z,‚?Ě apocalyptic zombie flick, producer/star Brad Pitt says (USA Today interview), ‚??We‚??re not the gore of ‚??The Walking Dead.‚?? Ours operates more as a thriller.‚?Ě He‚??s right. Pitt plays retired U.N. investigator Gerry Lane, called back to track the origins of a world-wide SARS-like epidemic that media and the public call ‚??zombies.‚?Ě Leaving his wife and two daughters (Mireille Enos, Sterling Jerins, Abigail Hargrove), Lane‚??s quest for plague origins and vaccine takes him to South Korea ‚?? where Victim Zero‚??s remains are ‚?? Israel, Wales and Nova Scotia. That‚??s the story line.
Will Gerry see his family again? Is a vaccine possible? Will human civilization survive? For some, but not all the answers, see ‚??World War Z.‚?Ě
Brad Pitt is excellent as tough, smart, cool-headed investigator/loving family man Gerry Lane. (‚??That‚??s one of the worst names in film ever,‚?Ě says Pitt.) No star-turn, it‚??s intelligent and underplayed.
Others in the cast include Mireilli Enos as supportive wife Karin, Fana Mokena as U.N. boss Thierry Umutoni, and Daniella Kertesz as stoic Israeli soldier Segan. Peter Capaldi, Moritz Bleibtreu, Pierfrancesco Favino and Ruth Negga play a quartet of W.H.O. researchers. Sterling Jerins and Abigail Hargrove are daughters Constance and Rachel.
‚??World War Z‚?Ě is a taut, gripping, sometimes scary, adult thriller, well-performed, with a smart script, some plot holes, and an interesting sub-text to talk about afterward. Horrific but, unlike most zombie movies, no gore. WWZ has more in common with ‚??Contagion‚?Ě (2011) than with ‚??Night of the Living Dead‚?Ě (1968). Marc Forster directed. Matthew Michael Carnahan and Drew Goddard wrote the script. Damon Lindelof rewrote the ending. Max Brooks wrote the novel. While it‚??s a zombie movie, the film‚??s undead are stand-ins for world-wide threats we all recognize ‚?? virulent drug-resistant pandemics, global economic collapse, climate change, terrorism, cyber-attacks, and the rest ‚?? none of which, like zombies, appear to be open to negotiation. WWZ‚??s take-away is that, with intelligence, collaboration, ingenuity, and luck, maybe we humans can rise to these challenges and persevere.
Rated PG-13 for intense, frightening zombie sequences, violence and disturbing images, WWZ runs 116 gore-free minutes. It makes my short list of favorite zombie flicks which includes ‚??28 Days Later‚?Ě (2002), ‚??Shaun of the Dead‚?Ě (2004) and ‚??The Cabin in the Woods‚?Ě (2011).
Brad Pitt in ‚??World War Z,‚?Ě
Zombies without the gore,
Taut, gripping thriller flick,
Zombies as metaphor.