How important is the ending of a film? – World War Z

World War Z - Official Poster - from IMDB.com

World War Z – Official Poster – from IMDB.com

World War Z (2013)

Director: Marc Forster
Writers: Matthew Michael Carnahan (screenplay, screen story), Drew Goddard (screenplay), Damon Lindelof (screenplay), J. Michael Straczynski (screen story)
Stars: Brad Pitt, Mireille Enos, James Badge Dale, Daniella Kertesz

Zombies have never really been my favourite monster. They are just creepy, not scary, just oozy and icky. But when Brad Pitt is in a film you know it should be of some quality at least. And it was quality for the most part.

The story begins with an outbreak of a disease, or infection, or virus, or whatever it is, we don’t really know, but it is killing people and turning them into ravenous bodies for other humans. It’s everywhere, and I do mean everywhere. America is not the only place hit with this cursed disease thing. But don’t worry, because the only man who could find out what is causing this genocide is Brad Pitt. The rest of the film unfolds as Pitt’s character, Gerry, travels across the world trying to find out what caused the zombie infestation and how to control, kill, and eradicate the zombies. The storyline is smart enough to keep you interested. It’s not a straight line to the solution for Gerry and he has to deal with friends dropping left, right, and centre. Clues are slowly revealed, but quite obviously explained for those audience members you don’t really get it the first three times you’re shown the clue. Gerry finds himself following a tough path to solve the zombie problem in the world.

The suspense of the first three-quarters of the film builds quite nicely… until the last 15-20minutes of the film. At which point they ruin all trust and sincerity that they built with me with one scene. It’s probably safe to say that it’s the worst product placement in the history of film, or at least for this year. Brad Pitt standing in front of a vending machine full of Pepsi taking a long drink from a can. Yes, actually. From that moment onwards the filmmakers lost me. I gave up caring about whether Gerry lived or died, I kind of wanted the human race to all become zombies at that point because nothing could be worse than having to sit through a 2-hour film only to realise that you hate our economic system, hollywood, and consumerism for ruining what had been a perfectly adequate action flick up to that point. And then they go and close the film with a bad monologue and montage.

If there is one thing we can learn from World War Z it is that the ending of a film is just as important as the beginning, if not more. It is the end that will be remembered more than the beginning or the middle. Every moment counts in a film and if you have bad product placement and tacky monologues at the end of a film you will be doomed to be ridiculed by everyone in the world, or at the very least, me.

2/5 – would be 3.5 if the ending wasn’t so loathsome.

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Laugh or Avert? – Killing Them Softly

Killing Them Softly - Official Poster - from IMDB.com

Killing Them Softly – Official Poster – from IMDB.com

Killing Them Softly (2012)

Director: Andrew Dominik
Writers: Andrew Dominik (screenplay), George V. Higgins (novel)
Stars: Brad Pitt, Ray Liotta and Richard Jenkins

There is something both beautiful and terrible about this film. It shows violence in both beautiful and awful ways, sometimes at the same instance, such that you end up both wanting to look but cringing at the scene at the same time. It is a split-second reaction of awe and disgust which gives this film it’s cred. You have the high profile actors, the well plotted storyline and the brilliant and non-Hollywood-style director, but it isn’t a film I would recommend for non-film-buff friends.

I’m going to be a little negative about the film now, but hear me first say that this is a good film, well crafted and executed, with many positives.

I had spoken to one of my film critic friends about the movie before going to see it and he mentioned that he thought that the violence wasn’t glorified like it is in some Hollywood blockbusters. I think he is both right and wrong here. There are a lot of slow motion moments in the film and moments where lighting and effects are used to replicate a drug-induced haze, which is fine and clever, but it makes the whole world they live in a bit of a fairy-tale. It brings the awfulness of drugs to the forefront and makes the violence look pretty and controlled. The chaos comes through the drugs but the clarity comes through the violence, which isn’t the best message to be sending out into the minds of people.

Then there is the background noise of the economic downturn in America with constant chatter of televisions and radios broadcasting Bush and Obama’s political speeches surrounding economic issues. To be honest it could have been a little less obnoxious. It becomes such loud background noise that it gets in your face at times and I found it to be a little punishing on the narrative and action of the film. I know they were trying to make a statement about how the economy falling effected everyone, but it wasn’t done in a way they made it seamless with the film, it stood out too obviously. There were moments in the film which I really enjoyed but then they would be ruined by some TV or radio chatter of Obama or Bush talking about how awful the economy in the US was doing and how strong the American people were. It was irritating.

There are three things worth seeing this film for:
1. Brad Pitt, of course;
2. The shooting/car scene with Pitt and Liotta, it is incredible and extremely impressive;
3. The humour in this film is minimalistic and giggle-out-loud, it’s very understated but is also hilarious.

Rating: 3/5