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Day Zero - drama DVD review
DAY ZERO rated R by the Motion Picture Association of America rating: 3 stars
Actors: Elijah Wood, Jon Bernthal, Chris Klein, Ally Sheedy, Ginnifer Goodwin
Director: Bryan Gunnar Cole   Studio: First Look Pictures
DVD release: 26 February 2008   Runtime: 93 minutes (1 disc)
Format: Color, Dolby, DVD-Video, Widescreen, NTSC
DVD Features: Subtitles (English, French, Spanish), Audio Tracks (English, Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround; English, Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo), More from First Look, Coming soon

DAY ZERO is a look at three very different people and how they react to being drafted into the armed services. It is shortly in the future, and the government has reinstated the draft. First 9/11 happened, then there was a devastating terrorist attack in Los Angeles. These three New Yorkers all get their notices at the same time.

Writer Aaron Feller (Elijah Wood) doesn't know if he could pull the trigger on another human. He tells his therapist (Ally Sheedy) all about those fears and his worries that he won't be able to finish the book for his publisher. Dr. Reynolds paints her nails while only half listening to him. She suggests he make a list of things to do before turning himself in for duty.

James Dixon (Jon Bernthal) is a cabbie, and he couldn't be happier. He believes that the U.S. has a duty to the world to straighten out the Middle East, and he's glad to pay for the freedoms he enjoys. Then he meets a girl, falls in love with her, and fails to tell her of his impending departure. Dixon is a good guy; he entertains a young girl from his building whose mother is a substance abusr. He's good, but he can be a tough character when he needs to be.

George Rifkin (Chris Klein) has just made partner at his law firm. His beautiful wife, Molly (Ginnifer Goodwin), has been free of cancer for just five years. He hosts snooty parties where the liberal elite look down their noses at the unnecessary war. The future looks bright - until he gets his notice. He asks his father, who has some pull with a senator, to help him get out of it. When his father can't pull it off, George considers feigning homosexuality, self-mutilation, or any other means to avoid his duty.

The individual stories are interesting and mildly compelling, but what is difficult to believe is that these guys are weekly beer-drinking buddies: a streetwise cabbie, the affluent lawyer in his ivory tower, the troubled writer. I can see them all going to school together, but the connection they have now is hard to believe. That they didn't have a "Eureka" moment when they all three got their draft notices is surprising. Not a bad film, but it doesn't quite feel done.
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reviewed by Eric Renshaw
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