Directed by Bryan Gunnar Cole (R)
Three high school friends face war together when the government re-establishes the draft.
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Day Zero has a great premise, but doesn’t go anywhere with it, said John Anderson in Newsday. The story concerns the daunting prospect of a new national draft, and follows three high school friends, played by Chris Klein, Elijah Wood, and Jon Bernthal, who are called to duty after Los Angeles experiences a terrorist attack. The buddies all come from different backgrounds, and the film means to explore how each social class copes with its obligation to the country. Neophyte director Bryan Gunnar Cole tackles an intriguing and ambitious subject, but never looks beyond the “usual knucklehead equation, in which boys become men, their women look on patiently, and people do (or do not do) the right thing.” The guys talk about everything—sex, homophobia, Wall Street, alcoholism, self-mutilation—except the war, said Joshua Rothkopf in Time Out New York. The consequences of a reinstated draft and the sacrifices that come with it are “barely acknowledged.” Day Zero manages to seem “at once trivial, naïve, and absurd,” said Meghan Keane in The New York Sun. Cole doesn’t shed any light on war, the draft, or the youth of today. All he does is “make a strong case for why the label ‘The Greatest Generation’ for World War II veterans has remained unchallenged.”
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