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World War Z

World War Z

By Patrick Samuel • October 24th, 2013
Static Mass Rating: 4/5
WORLD WAR Z (MOVIE)
Paramount Home Entertainment

Release date: Oct 21st, 2013
Running time: 116 minutes

Director: Marc Forster
Writers: Matthew Michael Carnahan, Drew Goddard, Damon Lindelof, J. Michael Straczynski, Max Brooks

Cast: Fana Mokoena, Fabrizio Zacharee Guidoas, Ludi Boeken, Mireille Enos, Daniella Kertesz

World War Z

It feels inevitable that at some point our civilisation will reach a critical point. After all, how is it possible for a system to sustain itself without eventually exhausting its resources when the rate of consumption outweighs its productivity? It’s basic economics. Whether this critical point arises out of nuclear war, an ecological man-made disaster or biological warfare, it will only be a testament to how we’ve managed to outstay our welcome on this planet in a relatively short time, but maybe there are other scenarios we should consider?

World War Z is such a film. Directed by Marc Forster and based on the 2006 novel of the same name by Max Brooks, it’s a tour de force film set at a time when the world is facing a worldwide zombie-like pandemic. Admittedly I had a few reservations about it as zombie films have never really resonated that well with me, but this all disappeared within a few minutes of the film starting and what followed was something I found to be very timely and offering a lot of food for thought afterwards.

Focusing on Gerry Lane (Brad Pitt), a former UN employee who now spends his time at home in Philadelphia with his wife and two daughters, it goes on to tell how they get caught in the chaos that’s unleashed when a virus begins to spread rapidly; first in the cities, across the countries and throughout the entire world. The virus has the effect of turning its victims into zombie-like creatures with an intensity that’s unparalleled, leaving the remaining survivors baffled as to where it came from, and most importantly, how to stop it.

The first scenes of chaos we experience borrows heavily from images seen in news reports and footage shot by eye-witnesses during the World Trade Center attacks in 2001. Gerry and his family are sitting in their car parked in a long line of traffic listening to radio reports on a rabies outbreak that has spread internationally. Within moments they then hear a series of explosions up ahead, getting out of the car to find out what’s happening, Gerry narrowly escapes being crushed by an oncoming truck that’s smashing its way through the traffic. All hell breaks loose on the streets of Philadelphia as the pandemic takes hold and Gerry sees victims who’ve been bitten now being controlled by this virus.

World War Z

The family of four flee to an abandoned apartment complex and await a helicopter rescue sent by Gerry’s former UN colleague, Thierry Umutoni (Fana Mokoena), the Deputy Secretary-General of the United Nations, but the bad news is that the Navy ship that offers them refuge wants something in return. With Gerry’s UN background and expertise, they want him to find the origin of the virus so they can then develop a vaccine. Gerry must leave his family behind and fly to South Korea where the word “zombie” was first used in reference to the outbreak. This journey will eventually take him to Israel and then to Wales as he fights to save what’s left of humanity while also trying to maintain contact his wife.

Along the way, World War Z introduces us to characters such as Tommy (Fabrizio Zacharee Guidoas), a young boy Gerry rescues in the apartment block in Philadelphia, and Mossad leader Jurgen Warmbrunn (Ludi Boeken), who explains how Israel was able to protect itself. He tells Gerry about a policy known as the “10th Man”. It came after the council observed several disasters around the world and they decided that if a vote was World War Zunanimous against a possible outcome, like the assassinations at the Munich Olympics, one member would act as if it was absolutely going to happen, and try to prevent it. If the crisis does actually happen, then at least one person is prepared for it and assumes directorship of the council for the duration.

It’s just one of the many interesting ideas put forward in World War Z and helps to distinguish it from other zombie/action movies, showing that the writers have gone to some lengths to create something that we’d think about long after the credits have rolled. That’s not to say it’s a perfect film though. Characters such as Gerry’s wife, Karin (Mireille Enos), and daughters come across as blandly written with not much to do but wait for him to make the decisions and rescue them. Thankfully not much time is spent with them and Segen (Daniella Kertesz), a female Israeli soldier who accompanies Gerry when he leaves Israel, is introduced into the story. Her presence in the film is unforgettable as the actress exudes a natural kind of charisma that manages to outweigh both Pitt’s and his on-screen wife.

Needless to say, I found World War Z to be my surprise film of the year so far, excelling with its story, action and a score that combines the music of Marco Beltrami and Muse’s Matthew Bellamy seamlessly to create a tense, thinking-man’s action film that just happens to include zombies. While deep down there might be a feeling that our days are numbered, a film like this does well in showing us, as Gerry says, “This isn’t the end, not even close.”

World War Z

Patrick Samuel

Patrick Samuel

The founder of Static Mass Emporium and one of its Editors in Chief is an emerging artist with a philosophy degree, working primarily with pastels and graphite pencils, but he also enjoys experimenting with water colours, acrylics, glass and oil paints.

Being on the autistic spectrum with Asperger’s Syndrome, he is stimulated by bold, contrasting colours, intricate details, multiple textures, and varying shades of light and dark. Patrick's work extends to sound and video, and when not drawing or painting, he can be found working on projects he shares online with his followers.

Patrick returned to drawing and painting after a prolonged break in December 2016 as part of his daily art therapy, and is now making the transition to being a full-time artist. As a spokesperson for autism awareness, he also gives talks and presentations on the benefits of creative therapy.

Static Mass is where he lives his passion for film and writing about it. A fan of film classics, documentaries and science fiction, Patrick prefers films with an impeccable way of storytelling that reflect on the human condition.

Patrick Samuel ¦ Asperger Artist

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