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Awesome: 40%
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3 reviews, 7 user ratings

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Zero Day
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by BMW Joe

"maybe the best low budget/no name feature ever made!"
5 stars

SCREENED AT THE 'HAD TO BE MADE' FILM FESTIVAL: ZERO DAY is easily one of the best, most thought provoking films I’ve seen in quite some time. It’s easily moved up to the top of the class on low-no budget indies with unknown actors. You know the like: Clerks, Slacker, Brothers McMullen, El Mariachi, Blair Witch, etc. etc.

The film is a video diary made by two high school students, Cal and Andre. Early on they show us their high school, in their town, which they declare is their nemesis and refer to themselves as the “Army of Two”. If you know absolutely nothing about this film it won’t take long to figure out this film is clearly influenced by the events at Columbine in Littleton, CO. They seem like decent kids, bright, good looking, and very insightful and sophisticated for their age. This makes it all the more chilling when you realize exactly what they’re about to embark on. Along the way they regale us with techniques on how to dissemble a shotgun in order to conceal it better, how to make explosives, taking target practice on some dolls and cantaloupe. The latter is a particularly harrowing scene as the army of two goes on shooting practice with Andre’s unsuspecting cousin, who is an avid gun owner, and happens to own several carbine rifles, shotguns, and what looked to be a vintage WW2 era M1- Gerand, the rifle that George Patton dubbed as the single most important weapon in WW2. Cal and Andre let us know that their cousin Chris had nothing to do with their mission. And, when Zero Day approaches, they plan to steal the guns from both Chris and Andre’s father, who also seems to be a gun nut if you will with several rifles and hand guns as well.

Much is made of the point that these kids are just your average high school student. Cal has a girlfriend, and even goes to the Prom with her days before the tragedy. Andre has a job at the local pizzeria, and parents that seem to be loving and involved in his life. His father seems at times a bit distant and tough, “I love you” or “I’m proud of you” may not tumble from his lips frequently, but certainly no worse than any other father. In one very touching and chilling scene, Andre drives home with his Father, after work, his father, having an awkward time in doing so, says he’s proud of his son and respects his working so hard to pay off his car. His father even says, “I think you’ve got big things ahead of you”, to which Andre replies, “Like you wouldn’t believe”. One point that’s driven home frequently, is that there is no reason, there is no logic to it. Cal and Andre both make a point of addressing the camera and saying, “You’ll try to figure it out, but you won’t.” They go as far as to burn many of their cd’s, video games, and books so the media can’t misconstrue these as having influenced their decision.

However, in what is something of a sort of significant thematic flaw, it’s not quite the case. The filmmakers themselves put forth this proposition, but they want their cake and to eat it to. Throughout the film there are instances where the Army of Two has a mindset, even a philosophy which is guiding them. In one telling moment, Cal looks directly into the camera, seemingly well aware of the fact that this videotape will be scrutinized by many after Zero day. Andre and Cal have gone as far as to rent a safety deposit box to keep their video diary available for the media, they even discuss who they want to view the tapes: Peter Jennings, Dan Rather, and Wolf Blitzer of CNN. After our, the audience, complicity has been implied, Cal states, “You’ve made us this way.” The “you” is “we”, society, media, parents, teachers, fellow students, consumers of this kind of sordid reality TV. The two make a point of stating, “this is your wake up call.” Wake up call to what exactly? It seems there’s very clear subtext here, somewhere one wonders if there doesn’t exist a sort of Army of Two manifesto. This simply doesn’t jive with what the creators would have us believe is just a random act with no reason.

Also, a slight quibble I have with the film is the ending. I don’t want give anything away, but simply, many times less is more. In this case I think that’s particularly true. The filmmakers may forget that the weight of the real events are playing in their favor. We all know what really happened on that day and no film can possibly do it justice. But, these are minor qualms, because the fact remains, I have not been forced to think this much about a film for quite some time. To judge Zero Day with same critical eye we would reserve for the greatest films of all time: Citizen Kane, Rashomon, Dreyer’s Passion of Jean Dark, Scorsese’s Raging Bull or GoodFellas, seems to me to be unfair. This is a film made on a limited budget, seeking distribution, and quite frankly is a must see, required viewing for those who seek off beat fair. With that in mind, I believe this film, despite some flaws is AWESOME on it's own terms. I can't remember when a film prompted me to contact the filmmaker, write a review about it, scream to the high heavens how worthwhile this films is.

Zero Day won best feature at Park City’s Slam Dunk fest as well as best feature at The Florida Film Fest in Orlando and is currently available for your perusal as part of the Had To Be Made film fest. You can go to www.hadtobemade.com to find out how you can see this film at your local indie video store. I insist you do so.

All I can say is this is a must see film!!!!

link directly to this review at https://www.hollywoodbitchslap.com/review.php?movie=7620&reviewer=319
originally posted: 05/03/03 01:10:35
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OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2004 Palm Springs Film Festival. For more in the 2004 Palm Springs Film Festival series, click here.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2004 Vancouver Film Festival. For more in the 2004 Vancouver Film Festival series, click here.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2005 Fantasia Festival For more in the 2005 Fantasia Festival series, click here.

User Comments

11/02/08 Shaun Wallner Great Film! 4 stars
10/29/06 Letecia Historically Inaccurate, if your into the hollywood typed fell and not the truth it's for u 1 stars
8/09/05 MorallySound Very powerful film, although I think the epilogue feels out of place. 4 stars
7/30/05 David Kirkham This Movie is Great, If you liked Bowling for Columbine and Elephant, this movie is for you 5 stars
10/26/03 modauth Just... wow alot to take in and think about 5 stars
10/12/03 elisha wow. 5 stars
9/02/03 John Branch Technically clever and dramatically disturbing 5 stars
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  03-Sep-2003 (NR)
  DVD: 05-Apr-2005



Directed by
  Ben Coccio

Written by
  Ben Coccio
  Chris Coccio

  Calvin Robertson
  Andre Kreuck

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