Day Zero


Though not to be confused with Zero Day or Germany, Year Zero, Bryan Gunnar Cole’s Day Zero similarly stands at the brink of disaster. In the not-so-distant future, a terrorist attack in Los Angeles escalates the War on Terror and the draft is reinstated. Three friends from different class divides—rich (Chris Klein), poor (Jon Bernthal), and hobbit (Elijah Wood)—are all called to duty and cope with their obligation to their country by engaging in all manner of histrionic self-destruction, from sleeping with whores to boozing . . . in the shower! Sabotaged by trite political dissertation and the presumption of novelty, the story forces Klein to shoulder much of the film’s white-male-hetero paranoia. “I just made partner,” his character says before going through LaBute-ian motions of desperation, from nearly chopping off his hand and asking Daddy to pull senatorial strings to spazzing out at a gay bar (in near-perfect sync with a techno beat) because—no joke—he isn’t programmed to swallow cum. With ludicrous gravity and a narrow-minded view of courage and conviction, the film’s what-if scenario is presented as a reality check to every ostensibly unimaginative male who’s come of age in the draftless years since Vietnam. One caveat: The many shots of the New York skyline are haunting, as if a military or monster attack could bring it all down in the blink of an eye.

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