Based loosely on the best-selling novel, World War Z is the latest entry in the zombie genre and it is a winner. Starring Brad Pitt as “Gerry Lane”, a former UN investigator who left his job to spend more time with his family, it opens as though it’s just another day in the Lane household. His wife “Karin” (Mireille Enos) and their two kids “Rachel” (Abigail Hargrove) and “Constance” (Sterling Jerins) are all getting ready to go out.
They find themselves caught up in heavy traffic in Philadelphia when things begin to go wrong. Waves of people running to get away from something are growing, and they are being chased by zombies. Fast moving zombies. The Lanes manage to make their getaway, and Gerry phones his old boss “Thierry” (Fana Mokoena) who is now the Deputy Secretary-General of the UN. After a harrowing journey, during which they pick up a boy named “Tommy” (Fabrizio Zacharee Guido), they find themselves safe aboard a U.S. Navy ship.
Now the military and the UN want to send Gerry in to find out what’s causing this. He is to take a virologist “Dr. Fassbach” (Elyes Gabel) to Korea to search for the origin of what the expert thinks is a virus. Gerry doesn’t want to go, but the alternative means he and his family will wind up in a refugee camp, vulnerable to the growing epidemic of zombies.
After more adventures, Gerry winds up in Israel, the only nation on Earth that has remained safe thus far. He gets some useful intelligence from the Mossad’s director “Jurgen” (Ludi Boeken) and is joined by an Israeli soldier, “Segen” (Daniella Kertesz) who saves his life. The two set out to find the cause of the virus and hopefully a cure.
Diehard fans of the novel will probably be displeased with how far afield the film takes its source material. That’s a shame because this is an excellent adaptation of the book. Tense from the outset, the film’s director Marc Forster (The Kite Runner, Quantum of Solace) has created a movie that makes the audience believe the world may well be ending as they know it.
Better still, this ranks right up there with any performance by Brad Pitt in a while. The quiet confidence of a very experienced operator is evident in his character throughout. While his character seems to have “Mary Sue” qualities, he manages to carry it off very well. The visuals are a bit uneven, great in some places and not well displayed in others. Overall, it didn’t matter that much. Some of the shots from the trailer that are paid-off in the final version are simply stunning in their awesomeness.
I am going to pay to see this again, on a bigger screen with better sound. I cannot give a film in this genre a higher endorsement than that.