Browse all reviews by letter     A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z 0 - 9

USA 2004
Directed by
Ben Coccio
92 minutes
Rated R

Reviewed by
Bernard Hemingway
2.5 stars

Zero Day

Synopsis: Andre (Andre Keuck) and Cal (Calvin Robertson) are two nice teenagers from nice families who are in their final year at a nice school in suburban America. With graduation approaching they're about to graduate their classmates into the next world

Zero Day is an odd film conceptually. With the Columbine High shootings so clearly its point of reference its faux cinema verite style appears to be at once a disturbing insight into the background to the event and a Blair Witch Project style fictionalisation of it. Fact and fantasy seem to be present in equal parts. Of course the film will be compared to Gus Van Sant's more sophisticated but abstracted take on Columbine High, Elephant (2003). For me this film had more emotional kick but not necessarily for the right reasons.

Coccio's tightly-made film adopts the video diary format, complete with wildly swinging camera, to impart the impression of factuality. The self-styled "Army of Two" are bright teenagers who decide to leave a video record of their preparations including a final address to camera explaining their motives. Given that we the audience are aware of the reality of Columbine High, the calmly rational approach of these two apparently perfectly normal boys to their murderous plan is confoundingly disturbing.

That is where the question arises. Is the director simply exploiting the real-life event to pass off his punk existentialist thesis on teenage alienation? It is arguably a credible thesis, but only because all things are possible. Unfortunately, and ironically, one gets the feeling that in its ultra-cool and probably ultimately deceptive matter-of-factness it is just the sort of film that would inspire a copy-cat response from a couple of far less photogenic young viewers.

Video diaries are usually of more interest to the people involved or connected to them in some way than anyone else (the film has done well on the US festival circuit and been critically well-received there). Zero Day is no exception and the whole final segment, which gives us the planned-for denouement on simulated security camera footage could have been ommited. Not only would this have strengthened the film's impact but its video game style gratuitousness only further casts doubts on this clever filmmaker's motives.




Want more about this film?

search youtube  search wikipedia  

Want something different?

random vintage best worst