Wednesday, 31 July 2013

Film Review: World War Z

I went to see World War Z a short while ago and have been meaning to review it for a while now. 
Directed by Marc Forster it is a film I have been looking forward to since it was announced.
I went to see the film a couple of weeks after release, by which time a lot of people I know had already seen it. Said people had fed back a lot of mixed reviews on the film,  none of them hailing it as great. Some said it was utterly terrible, others said it was just okay. Because of this I entered the screening with a feeling of trepidation. Would I enjoy it? Was it going to be a waste of time as I had been told?
Now I realise that this film is based off of Max Brook's book of the same title, but I have not read this book and as such will not be comparing the film to it. Although to be fair I wouldn't even if I had read it. As this is a film, and no film will ever be the same as a book. A film would be insanely long and often tedious if it followed a book to the letter. But I digress...

World War Z follows a United Nations employee, Gerry Lane(Brad Pitt), as he races around the world looking for a way to combat a zombie pandemic that threatens to topple humanity.
The film throws us hints right out of the titles scenes, with reports of animals gone a mock and rioting suggesting something is going badly wrong. This all in the back ground as we watch Gerry, his wife Karin (Mireille Enos) and their two daughters run through their morning routine. The family drive through central Philly getting stuck in traffic, then the street explodes with activity. Police fly past, a garbage truck smashes through waiting cars, a large explosion goes off and people start running, running in terror. 
Through the chaos and turmoil you catch glimpses of what appear to be humans, but much more animalistic in nature. A shot here, someone is bitten, a shot there one of the creatures pounces on a fleeing civilian. The speed of the violence and panic hit you like truck. Here we are introduced to Gerry in his element, we see his view of things, his observations. A great use of camera angles and his internal voice counting the seconds until a victim succumbs to the infection show us how he is cataloguing the event, storing important information despite the chaos that surrounds him. All the whilst protecting his family. 
Despite a relativity short opening sequence, most of which is filled with a city in disarray and utter panic, Forster did a good job of focusing enough on the Lane family to make you emotionally invest in them. You want to see them make it through and throughout the entire film, despite most of it following just Gerry, the impact of events on the family leads you to think about your own family. What would you do in this situation? 

After forming this bond with the family  we see them separated as Gerry has to go to work with the UN. 
As he is flown around the world we, the audience, are dragged deeper into the horror. 
Be it in small groups in the dark rainy hell of a South Korean military base or in massed hordes swarming a walled off population centre in Israel, the films approach to presenting the truly horrifying nature of the zombies and the seemingly futile attempt of humanity to stop them is astounding. 
Gerry is in the midst of all this chaos, the fantastic way in which the audience is shown his observations through yet more brilliant camera work allows us to try and work out what he is thinking, what he is aiming for before we are told. It keeps you immersed in the story and the characters rather then just the zombies and the battle against them, something a lot of zombie films fail to achieve.
No mindless killing of hordes of Zombies here, the action scenes involving fights with the undead are used to progress the plot, not make it.  In a rare hint of realism in this kind of film the characters actively try to avoid the zombies, fearing for their lives and acting to survive for a refreshing hit of actual human nature. 

World War Z is a mature addition to the zombie film genre, creating tense moments for its characters throughout and keeping you invested in the story and the cast as it progresses. 
The camera work combined with an utterly stunning performance from Pitt presents this apocalyptic world problem and its emotional impact brilliantly. 

I would highly recommend going to see this on the big screen if you get the chance for some of the stunning vistas and wonderfully presented city action scenes. 

I give World War Z 4/5 

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