Oct 062010

Gripping, thoughtful and completely unexpected

I sat down on the couch today to write out some cards for church and flipped the TV on for some background noise. It came on to Showtime, which was showing a movie I had never heard of called “Day Zero,” with Elijah Wood and Chris Klein. It seemed good, but I didn’t have a clue what it was about so I called up the guide. The baseball playoffs were on, so I went to TBS to watch them. It didn’t take long for me to remember why I don’t watch the baseball playoffs: I don’t like baseball. So I flipped back to “Day Zero” and got out the cards. An hour later I had a pile of unwritten cards and a head full of thoughts. This was quite the movie.

“Day Zero” is an independent film from 2007 that made all of $16,659 at the box office. No, you didn’t miss the ‘million’; it’s not there. Sixteen thousand six hundred and fifty nine dollars. That’s all it made. Which is a crying shame and shows hard it is to make any money with an independent movie. Also starring Jon Bernthal, it is a ‘what if’ story about three friends in a mythical United States where the draft has been reinstated to fight global terrorism and these three young men have been drafted. They have thirty days until ‘Day Zero,’ which is the day they have to report. The movie is about how they deal with the prospect of fighting, killing and possibly dying in the war on terror.

I loved this movie because it asks two great questions. First, what would you live for? Second, what would you die for? The two are not always the same. This film is a beautiful study of how these three men answer those questions.  The acting is wonderful, as in “it filled me with wonder.” I was completely sucked in by their subtle yet powerful performances. It was riveting.

 I’m not going to tell you whom they would live or for whom they would die. That’s not the point of this movie. The point is to experience their answers and to think about how you would answer those questions. It certainly got me thinking about them, and it’s always good to be reminded of what’s important in life.  It was a very nice surprise.