The Great Film Art of Massimo Carnevale

Film Analysis: “Grave of the Fireflies”

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I’ll go ahead and say it: Grave of the Fireflies, directed by Isao Takahata and animated by Studio Ghibli, is the greatest animated film ever made. It is the most haunting, heart-wrenching and tragic tale ever told on film, and that includes live-action films, as well. If you thought Mufasa’s death or Bambi losing her mum was too painful to watch, you haven’t felt true sorrow. But that’s not a fair comparison; the truth is, it is unfair to compare Grave of the Fireflies with the greatest work of Walt Disney or any animated film for that matter. This isn’t a children’s movie, it’s a devastating war film that has the power to make a grown man cry, sob and weep. I’m not ashamed in admitting Grave of the Fireflies brings tears to my eyes every single time I watch it.

The fact that it’s all based on a true story makes it all the more harrowing and disturbing. Don’t let my words scare you off, though. Grave of the Fireflies encapsulates so much humanity and beauty, I’m certain, without a reasonable doubt, that if you make it all the way to the end, it will make you a better person. I hope this is enough of an intro to make you watch this film. Below, you’ll find the dubbed version of Grave of the Fireflies. I have watched both the dubbed and subtitled versions, and this is one of those rare cases where you can’t go wrong with either. Anyway, enjoy the movie and please return to this point in my analysis after the screening, as I will explore some of the film’s deeper themes.

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The film opens with a slap on the face. You see our main character sitting against a pillar in a train station. His clothes are torn, his body is covered in dirt, his frail arms rest flimsily next to him, his face lifeless against his chest. “September 21, 1945… that was the night I died.” How often does a film start with such a powerful prologue? Everything about this masterpiece is a rarity. The animation comes from a studio that constantly raises the benchmark of animation. In fact, each and every drawn shot is worthy of being framed against a wall. But what makes this film stand tall above anything remotely similar is the shocking subject matter. Grave of the Fireflies is set during the World War II, when the US was firebombing Japan in a desperate attempt to end the war.

The whole story is told through Seita’s perspective, and I mentioned before that this is based on a true story, which makes the opening death scene a cinematic metaphor. The real Seita, Akiyuki Nosaka, survived long enough to tell his story. Nosaka wrote the material this film was based on in the late 60s, and maybe the prologue symbolises the weight this tragic incident had on him’ nothing was probably ever the same again. Like Seita, Nosaka lost his little sister to the shattering effects of war. It is widely known that Nosaka wrote Grave of the Fireflies to come to terms with this loss. He blames himself for her death.

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I say he lost his sister to the shattering effects of war, because war didn’t kill Setsuko, the effect it had on people did. This film is often regarded as an anti-war film, but that’s an inaccurate generalisation. We don’t witness any battles or soldiers marching into the frontlines of combat. The enemy flies above, but they’re not characterised in a villainous manner. War is a mere backdrop in this survival account, and the central theme here is how war temporarily changes who we are. It blinds us from all things human. It turns us into cruel selfish beasts, unsympathetic to the desperate needs of others. The kindness and compassion in human souls evaporate into thin air the second we are communally put in a situation where it’s every man for himself. Priorities eclipse our minds, and the fear of regret blocks our thoughts from the reality that we’re all in this together. It is only together, and with the help of one another, that we can all survive through our darkest chapters without being cursed with future guilt, shame, and remorse.

This central theme is evident right from the opening shots. We see bystanders regard Seita’s death with no empathy whatsoever. Bodies are being looked upon like they’re nothing but garbage. “Disgusting.” – “These bums are a disgrace.” – “This one’s a goner too.” At first, these remarks may come across strange to the viewer, but when Takahata takes us through the journey, we understand the sad nature of this destination. We witness the gradual surge of selflessness in the people of a bombed village. It starts with their aunt. At first, she’s welcoming and caring. Soon enough, she is ripping them off, and cursing them. She constantly mocks and humiliates Seita. Tells him he should be going to school when the school has been burned down, that he should work when he’s only 14 years of age. Eventually, she’s depriving them from food, hiding and saving the food for her own family. We hear whispers of the siblings being a burden in their house, more mouths to feed. Seita, being the son of a general, decides to take his sister and leave their aunt’s house with his pride still intact.

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The transformational effect of war is also manifested in the scenes where Seita seeks the help of a doctor. When he stands above the body of his bleeding mother, the doctors delivers the bad news showing genuine sadness in their inability to help. In a much later scene, Seita seeks the help of a doctor to save his sister from dying. The news delivery is cold, like death is inevitable. No medicine is needed, only food, so the doctor could lend a helping hand, but he wouldn’t; he has his own troubles to worry about. Seita yells in frustration, but to no avail.

Seita is reduced to a thief at one point, but the viewer forgives him, because we have experienced the harsh realities of the war’s aftermath. It makes me think of how many times people have looked down at poor people stealing bread, when we have no clue what has led them to arrive to such last resorts. Nevertheless, Seita is beat near an inch of his life. Setsuko sees his face all swollen, and asks him if she should get him a doctor. When Seita hears these words coming from his little sister, he breaks down. No kid should worry about seeing a doctor.

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The only hope for humanity in this story exists in the innocence and kindness of their relationship. Children are uncorrupted by the ugly world we live in. The purity of their innocence is what makes the nature of evil incomprehensible to their minds. The older we get, the less innocent we become; we’re built that way to endure the harsh realities of life. There’s another scene where Seita breaks down for the same reasons. He sees Setsuko digging a grave for the fireflies that have lit up the darkness of their shelter the night before. As the fireflies are pushed into their graveyard, we see a mirroring shot of piles of bodies being dropped into a massive hole. “Mama is in a grave too. She told me. She said mama died and she’s in a grave now.” It’s just not right to hear such heavy words coming out of a child deprived of the joys of childhood.

There are many haunting images in this film, one of the most hard to watch ones is Setsuko sucking on marbles like they’re candy or playing with bowls of dirt like its rice. What follows next is perhaps the most heartbreaking scene in the film. The war has ended and Seita has managed to get his hands on some real food. He tries to feed his sister a watermelon, but she’s too tired to quench her thirst. Setsuko sleeps and we learn that she never woke up. Setsuko’s last words are, “Seita, thank you.” Even in her last moments, she shows the kindness, innocence, and gratitude absent in adults during those hard times.

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Later on, we see the only scene that isn’t seen through the eyes of Seita. In a touching montage, the viewer sees how Setsuko spent her time in the shelter absent of her brother. Watching her play around the way any child would is plain and simply beautiful. At one point in the film, Setsuko looks up at Seita, her eyes a blink away from sending tears streaming down her cheeks. “Why do fireflies have to die so soon?” Seita has no answer, and neither do I. We see two fireflies dancing around; the two dancing lights fade out in the darkness.

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Film Review: “47 Ronin” ★ (1/5)

A samurai is a high-ranking member of the military in feudal Japan. A master swordsman practicing the code of Bushido, it is generally deemed unwise to draw a sword against the highly skilled warrior. He serves his master with absolute loyalty and supreme regard. Although, he is a servant, and the word samurai literally translates to “those who serve,” being a samurai is a title that habitually comes with wisdom and the people’s utmost respect. Their service makes them superior to the common folk.

However, once a samurai is defeated or proven disloyal to the empire, he undergoes voluntarily or obligatorily Seppuku. Seppuku is a ritual act of suicide where the samurai is given a choice to die with honour, after bringing shame to those he swore to protect. Contrary to popular belief, it is a slow and painful way to go. The samurai picks up a sword or knife. He points it to his body and plunges it into his stomach before slicing the sword to the right or left to make the death definitive.

I open my review with this brutal description of a man of honour taking his own life out of shame, not to recite an act you’re all probably already familiar with, but to metaphorically explain what just happened to Keanu Reeves’ career. Make no mistake, Reeves never gained the utmost respect of his audiences, but he was a highly regarded action star in the 1990s. With Point BreakSpeed and The Matrix in his resume, Reeves’ career had a lot of potential. His monotonous acting abilities seemed to be overlooked in his favour to the quality of the films he starred in. With the release of the $200 million, soon to be flopping, 47 Ronin, we’ve finally reached the inevitable. A film so bad, it matches the actor’s inability to perform.

Calling this a performance would be an overblown exaggeration. Arnold Schwarzenegger displayed a wider range of facial expressions as a robotic Terminator than the wooden demonstration presented here. Reeves aka “The One” in The Matrix trilogy, is now nicknamed “the half breed,” one of the 47 Ronin, a real-life group of samurai in 18th century Japan, who managed to successfully avenge the murder of their master against preposterous odds. Their legend, courage and loyalty have stood the test of time, only to be unjustly retold in a Hollywood fantasy with repulsive CGI and tasteless dialogue.

Ever since, my initial viewing of Akira Kurosawa’s ultimate samurai epic, Seven Samurai, I’ve taken a liking to the genre, so this film comes as a grave disappointment. Perhaps, I put too much blame on Reeves. The truth is, everyone involved in this project should be ashamed of themselves. If the 47 Ronin were alive today, they’d probably dedicate their last breaths to bringing an end to the lives of all those responsible for reciting their legend so poorly. In that regard, the filmmakers should count themselves lucky they’ll get away with mere critical outrage and inescapable box office losses.

Film Analysis: “Running Scared”

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With the recent passing of Paul Walker, I thought it would be best to honor his memory by visiting his most accomplished film to date. Running Scared is a cinematic beast that flew under the radar and has since earned a small cult following that will probably breed more fans as time goes by. History won’t remember Paul Walker for his Fast and Furious movies; this is the film people will be talking about for years to come.

Wayne Kramer’s Running Scared is one of the most intense gangster films to come out of Hollywood. It is fearless,graphic, gritty, and relentless in its depiction of evil. Right from the beginning, Kramer locks the viewer into a dark world of abusive fathers, junkies, pimps, prostitutes, drug dealers, pedophiles, dirty cops, Italian mafia, the Russian mob, and Mexican gangs.

The plot kicks off with a shootout between two mobs and dirty cops. Following the shootout, an Italian crime boss asks his soldier to dispose of a gun used to gun down the corrupt cops. Here we are introduced to Joey Gazelle (Paul Walker), the thug with the task. When Gazelle fails to get rid ofthe gun, all hell breaks loose. He ends up running from one shitty neighbourhood to the next in desperate search for that gun.

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The gun in that sense is the MacGuffin. Its sole purpose is to drive the story forward into unknown territory. If you’re not familiar with the cinematic term MacGuffin, it was originally coined by Hitchock and refers to an object or a plot device used to move a chain of events forward. Some of cinema’s most iconic “MacGuffins” are the envelope full of money in Psycho, the Rosebud sled in Citizen Kane, the ring in Lord of the Rings, the monolith in 2001: A Space Odyssey, and Marcellius Wallace’s suitcase inPulp Fiction.

Filmmakers often plant a “MacGuffin” into their screenplays to make it easier to maneuver the story into whichever scenario they want to shoot. You move the “MacGuffin” and the viewer is thrown into an entirely different scene without even noticing. It simply puts a cause to any effect, and Running Scared is perhaps the best example of a “MacGuffin” driven story. The gun falls into the hands of every nasty being in this planet’s shittiest neighbourhood. This elevates the tension to a whole new level of heart-pounding suspense.

Make no mistake; this isn’t a film to be taken seriously. Choosing to watch this film is the equivalent of picking to the ride the meanest roller coaster in the theme park. The viewer has no choice, you won’t be smoothly pulled into a well thought out ride, Running Scared shoves you from one absurd scene to the next with absolutely no warning of what will happen next.In that sense, it is classic example of pure unpredictable entertainment, an exemplar of film as the ultimate pastime.

In all fairness, Kramer does add an artistic touch that differentiates his film from the countless Guy Richie copycats elevating it into cult status. German expressionism clearly influenced the way the film was shot. Most of the scenes are seen through the eyes of children. This allows Kramer to showcase his story like it’s a grim nightmarish fairy tale. Characters with evil intensions move unrealistically, and cast expressionistic shadows revealing the true nature of who they are.

This is evident in the beggar incident and the infamous pedophile couple scene, one of the creepiest scenes of any film you’ll ever see. In fact, if you look closer, you’ll spot a reference to the German fairy tale, Hansel and Gretel. The name on the prescription bottle a kid finds in the pedophiles home reads “Hansel”. In the fairy tale, a witch lures Hansel and Gretel into her house using candy in order to eat them, similar to how the pedophiles lure the kids into their home using ice cream and countless toys.

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There are other symbolic aspects scattered throughout the film, the most obvious of which is the name of our main character, Gazelle. Get it? Gazelles run around scared when wolves hunt them. In many ways, Running Scared is a lot smarter than it looks. If you look at it from one angle, it’s a crime film with a comic book feel to it, a nightmarish fairy tale from another angle, and a Hollywood satire if you look beneath the surface.

Everything in Running Scared is exaggerated and overblown excessively. The violence is bone crunching, the profanity is delivered in extraordinary detail, and clichésand stereotypes are everywhere to be seen. I honestly think this was done intentionally to mock Hollywood and its alpha male fixation on graphic violence, Hollywood’s depiction of women as sex objects, and an overused offensive verbal formula that ultimately implants stereotypes into culture. In Running Scared, women are almost always referred to as bitches, African Americans get stamped with the N-word, and Italians are portrayed as ruthless gangsters whacking people left and right. Running Scared goes as far as mocking studios forcing unrealistic happy endings on screenplays just to play it safe.

With repeated viewings, Running Scared turns more into a dark comedy than anything else. Each time you watch it, you’ll be caught off guard one way or another. In this last viewing, I noticed that Walker uses about every transitional technique in the editing book. This is a fearless film that will sucker punch you with its staggering visuals and continue throwing its fists at you after you’ve been knocked out.

Film Review: “The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug” ★★★★ (4.5/5)

At one point, Bilbo Baggins looks at the incarnation of death as it soars into the distance. “What have we done?” he whispers. If this was directed to the audience, I would gladly answer: you’ve done it again. This installation of J.R.R. Tolkien popular Middle-Earth anthology lives up the best in the series, and surpasses the fairly good first part of The Hobbit.

The creative talent behind The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, lead by Academy Award winner Peter Jackson, have outdone themselves. Jackson wastes no time, the film jumps right into the heart of Tolkien’s literary masterpiece and leaves the viewer with a lot to be desired, and I mean that in a good way. The film ends with a cliffhanger that will have you counting days till the grand finale arrives in glorious IMAX.

Do not be fooled by some of the negative reviews posted online. The bulk of the complaints address the fact that The Desolation of Smaug lacks a beginning and an end. This is very true, but calling this a flaw is absolutely absurd. The Desolation of Smaug has a beginning, and the beginning is a movie you might have missed called An Unexpected Journey. And guess what? They’re working on releasing an ending too; it’s called There and Back Again.

For that very reason, one can’t critically tackle Jackson’s film in a conventional way. This isn’t meant to be judged as a stand-alone movie. About a year ago, my CairoScene review praised the first Hobbit film for giving the characters the time they deserve. It boasted character development but lacked adventure; with this continuation of the story, the case is vise versa.

The characters are all built up and we’re thrown into one little adventure to another from the get-go. Eventually, we arrive to the film’s pinnacle, the appearance of Smaug, best described by Tolkien as “a most specially greedy, strong and wicked worm.” Smaug is the last great dragon of Middle-Earth; the grandeur of his presence is a sight to behold.

The special effects that went into crafting every little inch of this monster’s skin texture are nothing short of marvelous. The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug is thrilling, humorous, and romantic. It’s the swashbuckling entry that perfectly transforms this saga from small in scope to sheer epic. One last thing, before I leave you running off to your theaters: knowing the grandiosity this film could potentially deliver; I went to see it opening night at IMAX. However, due to technical issues caused by heavy rainfall, the IMAX screen was temporarily shut down and we had to experience it on a regular screen.

Apparently, a piece of the ceiling fell on one of the viewers during the 6pm showing. After hours of snail gliding through flooded streets, this came as a great disappointment. Ironically, my night started with an “unexpected journey” and ended at the “desolation of Smaug.” I hope this IMAX setback gets all sorted out soon, cause I know I’ll be “there and back again.”

Film Analysis: “Gravity”

Alfonso Cuaron’s Gravity is shaping up to be the best-reviewed film of the year. The bulk of the praise is going to the groundbreaking photography and Sandra Bullock’s moving performance. As the posters will let you know, everyone in Hollywood is over the moon for this film. Some have been calling it the best space film ever made. Quite frankly, I’m not so sure they got the whole point of the film. It does portray space in a very realistic manner, but it’s far from a “space film.” In fact, it’s more of a psychological drama; it just happens to be set in space.

Gravity is one of the most inspirational motion pictures to come out in some time. It hits a chord with the subconscious mind and it’s not because of the master-class of cinematography unraveling before your eyes (it does help though), but it’s because it aims to teach us something about humanity. Gravityis about that precise moment you choose to move forward, the moment you choose to let go of the sorrow that has eclipsed your life for far too long.

The plot unfolds with our two main characters in space. Right away you get to know the type of people they are. Ryan Stone (Sandra Bullock) is there to get things done and leave. She doesn’t take a moment to gasp at the beauty surrounding her. In fact, she seems kind of uptight. She wants to finish what she’s there for and get on with it.

Meanwhile, Matt Kowalski (George Clooney) floats around exchanging life stories with the space station in Houston. You can tell right away that he’s a free spirit. He’s the type of person who lives every day to the fullest; a guy with a million stories to tell and not a worry in his mind. When they hear of meteors potentially shooting their way, he reassuringly tells Stone to let the guys back in Houston worry about it. Stone lives to work, Kowalski, on the other hand, works to live.

Cinematically, this contrast in character is displayed in metaphorical shots of Stone stuck to a piece of machinery not that different from who she is; its sole purpose in life is to get a job done. On the contrary, Kowaski carelessly floats around like a free spirit. Curaon manages to fully establish two characters in a matter of seconds. The fact that he tells us everything we need to know about his characters using nothing but cinematic imagery evidently shows us that we are about to see the work of an efficient master, dominating his artistic form.

In perhaps the most horrifying moment of any film this year, they get a message: “Explorer, this is Houston. Mission Abort. Repeat. Mission Abort!” In a matter of seconds, a shower of meteors hit them in a breathtakingly catastrophic sequence. The usual soothing silence of space has never been portrayed more chillingly.

Stone follows Kowalski’s instructions and detaches, ultimately floating uncontrollably into blackness. The beauty of Alfonso Cuaron’s symbolic images surprises me with each subsequent viewing. She floats uncontrollably because she is not in control of her life. Kowalski on the other hand is complete control. He comes to her rescue and drags her back to the scene.

The metaphorical journey continues as they voyage to another space station. Kowalski asks about Stone’s past and if there’s anyone back home looking up at the sky, wondering when she’ll return, and we finally understand why she seems to have given up on life. No one is waiting for her.

We learn that she used to have a daughter but lost her in a playground accident. “All I do is work, and when I get home, I just drive. I was driving when I got the call, so ever since, that’s what I do. I drive.” One can’t help but feel sorry for her. The viewer misjudged her. It’s sad how we judge people not knowing what they’ve been through and how they came to be where they are now, but now we understand when and why she gave up on living.

We get the feeling that she has been grieving ever since. Coping with grief is the most painful of all human emotions, but it’s something we all eventually go through. For how long one gets stuck in sorrow depends on the gravity of the situation (no pun intended). Grief comes in many forms, be it divorce, or the loss of a friend you once held dear. Stone is going through the worst kind of grief, the death of a loved one.

Some people never emerge out of this state of mind; they linger in it and make it their home in what ends up being a very depressing life. It makes perfect sense, why she’s been stuck in this state for so long. When we unexpectedly lose someone, it is instantaneous but long lingering. It’s just how we naturally process the emotion. You don’t lose the person in one shot, you lose the person in small painful doses over time- when she goes to bed and stops hearing the cries of her baby, when her child’s scent starts to fade awayher clothes, when memories haunt heras she drives. It’s not easy to let go of things right away, but eventually it all comes down to whether you’ll mourn the rest of your days or learn to let go and move forward.

The first time Kowalski saved Stone’s life was earlier, when he told her to detach. The second time is in another post impact scene that mirrors the first. Only this time, the roles are reversed. He’s the one about to drift into infinite blackness. We see that he’s dragging her with him and the only chance for any of them to survive is if he cuts off the rope. In other words, Kowalski saves her life again through detachment. It’s not by preventing her to float with him into space, but by teaching her that sometimes it’s ok to let go, both literally and metaphorically. “You have to learn to let go,” he says. It’s a beautiful scene.

This is the turning point of our main character’s psychological journey. Stone works her way into a spacecraft and takes off her suit in a hurry. As she floats inside in her bare skin, her posture resembles that of an unborn baby floating in a womb. Stone is reborn. She may not know it yet, but she is about to start a new life. When she fails to get a spacecraft to start up again, she almost gives up again. We see her crying as she communicates with “another world.” We hear the voice of a baby. Stone lets it all out; she laughs, cries and howls like it’s in human beings’ primitive nature to do so.

In the following scene, just as she’s about to accept the fact that she’ll be stuck in this state forever, we see the return of Kowalski. It is clearly a vision and Kowalski is merely her mind pushing her to do what he tried to teach her when sacrificing his life for hers. “What’s the point of going on? What’s the point of living? Your kid died. It doesn’t get any rougher than that. It’s still a matter of what you do now. If you decide to go, than you got to just get on with it. Sit back. Enjoy the ride. You got to plant both your feet on the ground and start living life.”

Eventually she decides to fight for it. She guides herself through Kowalski. Her subconscious mind digs deep into her memory of what she learnt in boot camp. She gets the thing working and as she shoots towards earth she faces her final step.  “You’ll see a little girl, with brown hair, lots of knots. She didn’t like to brush it. You tell her I found her red shoe. She was so worried about that red shoe. And it was under the bed the whole time.” Stone is letting go.

The film ends with Stone crashing into the ocean. She takes her suit off once again and floats back to the surface. The ocean isn’t much different from space when you think about it, it’s uninhabitable, there’s no oxygen, and we hover in what feels like almost zero gravity. Cuaron grounds his message to our world. This could very well have worked as a tale of two people trying to reach the surface, thousands of metres beneath the ocean. The truth is, it is a psychological journey that can, and eventually will, happen to all of us anywhere, on any given day.

We see her break the surface. The mise-en-scene of the whole film has a greyish feel to it. In this particular scene, the colours are vibrant and lively. The journey is over and the future is bright. Stone struggles against gravity at first, but eventually she does the very thing her subconscious self (Kowalski) previously asked for. We see a close up shot of Stone planting her feet to the ground and moving forward.

Film Review: “World War Z” ★★★★ (4/5)

World War Z is one of the best zombie films to come out in years. Now, I know that’s not saying much, but I also know it kept me on the edge of my seat for much of its duration, and that’s pretty much all I ask for when I walk into a zombie film. Marc Foster managed to direct the first zombie film that feels truly epic in scale. This isn’t the tale of a family trapped inside a mall or a couple taking refuge in a house. World War Z is about a global epidemic that needs to be stopped before it’s too late.

With a budget of over $200 million, this is the most expensive zombie film ever made. The film shifts into full gear right from the opening scene. No time is wasted on establishing the family or repetitive shots of ordinary life getting interrupted. We’re thrown right at the twitch of chaos and the tension never drops a notch.

After zombies start running around spreading the disease along the way, we see Gerry (Brad Pitt) and his family running into a supermarket to stock up on food and medications. This is pretty much standard human behavior. Whenever chaos breaks off, the first that comes to mind are the very things you’ll need to survive; naturally, food is at the top of that list. Anyway, something very interesting happens in that scene that isn’t important to the plot.

They rush inside and see dozens of people grabbing everything they can in a frenzied manner. A moment later, they decide to split up. Gerry walks over to the pharmaceutical section and the wife stocks up on food. We follow Gerry as he gets asthma medication for his daughter when suddenly the scream of his wife sends him rushing over to the food isle. We see his wife on the floor fighting off two men attempting to rape her. Gunshots are fired, and Gerry shoots down one of the looters. At that precise moment, a cop walks by and sees the killing. Gerry raises his hands, but the cop walks right past him like nothing happened. The thing I love most about apocalyptic films is observing how humans act in anarchic scenarios. Most films don’t bother to show that angle of chaos, but World War Z is smarter than most zombie films.

You see, in the midst of chaos, the whole system we’re used to falls apart. A cop typically paid to protect and serve simply becomes a man in a uniform. Priorities change, he thinks of his own survival, his family, his future. He sees a man killing another, but doesn’t bother to do anything about it. In the midst of turmoil, it’s every man for himself. I said that this isn’t important to the plot of the film, and it’s true it plays no significance whatsoever to the storyline, but it is extremely important to the film itself. You see, the little things that feel true to human nature are elements that pull viewers in. Directors often don’t pay much attention to background behavior, but it’s often the key to making viewers forget that what they’re watching isn’t real. The danger in World War Z felt real and authentic and that’s why it works as a thriller. That being said, the film does have its flaws. It feels rushed and could’ve dwelled more on character development. The acting feels somewhat flat and Brad Pitt seems to have put little effort into his performance. But the thing that bothered me most is a scene set in Palestine aka Israel. We see Palestinians and Israelis singing together in unity.

That’s perfectly fine and believable since humans tend to unite when they have a common enemy. What bothered me is the repercussion this act of unity caused. You see, when they sing together, the sound attracts the attention of thousands of zombies and this becomes the end of Jerusalem. Now, I don’t know what kind of political subliminal message this is meant to send out to the millions of subconscious minds watching this film but if there’s any meaning behind this, World War Z may be just as contaminating as the virus infecting the human race within the story.

Nevertheless, I disregarded it the way I disregard forced product placement in films and had an overall pleasant time at the movies. The film perfectly sets up an inevitable sequel that will probably be less of a detective story and more of a war film. Rither way, I’m interested enough to anticipate what happens next in this alternative world. Bring on World War Z: II.

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