Jun 22, 2013

REVIEW: World War Z (dir. Forster)

It's surprising how affecting Brad Pitt is at playing fathers. The ingrate in me wants to credit those tabloid images of him and Angie and the kids finally rubbing off on our collective unconscious, but then there is his performance in Moneyball — my favorite performance of 2011, with a wonderful tired sadness around the edges — and now here he is, tucking up his kids in bed before going off to fight zombies in Marc Forster's World War Z, and communicating as much in a glance as Harrison Ford used to with Anne Archer in Patriot Games. Pitt's matured into quite a screen actor, his mellowness having finally found it's middle-aged groove. Advance word had it that World War Z had eaten it's own brains for breakfast, but not only is it not bad, it's actually quite good, with a couple of genuinely suspenseful sequences involving Pitt and his fellows tip-toing down corridors trying not to wake the zombie hordes from their slumber (they sleep standing up like horses) — shades of The Brood, and The Birds even. And the first twenty minutes are a text-book example of steadily mounting dread, with Foster  goosing the audience's peripheral vision with glimpses — never quite enough — of the advancing zombies. By now you will have heard of the film's major innovation: they move like greased lightning. And a bright idea it was — there's a Boschian glint to the film's imagery of teeming, toppling hordes, and for once the global imagery pays off; whether consciously or not, the film presents us a vision of the third world overwhelming the first, as if all the countries Brad and Angie aim to save had instead risen up and consumed them. It's like a home-movie-turned-horror-film of their latest adoption run. B

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