Another World (2014)
Another World is an unusual zombie movie from Israel that won't be to everyone's taste. Don't be fooled by the trailer which gives a totally misleading impression.
The film begins with two heavily tooled-up guys facing a horde of cannibalistic running zombies in an underground car park. However we soon learn that unlike most survivors our two main characters are actively hunting down the infected and trying to destroy them. The motives behind this course of action are a key part of the story.
The pair's next encounter is at a hospital where they meet up with two women, one of them a doctor. They also have their first encounter with another survivor who seems to have information about the outbreak.
From here the film settles into a rhythm of zombie encounter followed by a scene with the characters sitting around discussing various philosophical and ethical topics. It's those latter scenes that will probably put off a lot of people; this isn't your typical gore-soaked action movie by any stretch of the imagination.
What really matters in this film is the characters and their contrasting outlooks on life. These are handled well and brought out within the story rather than overwhelming it. The story itself is pretty light but it's enough to act as a vehicle for the moral debates and existential questions.
There's also a definite religious subtext. Different sections of the story are labelled 'Day 1', 'Day 2' etc and introduced with quotes from Genesis. There are clear references to man playing God, redemption, forgiveness etc. However this is kept as a subtext and doesn't become preachy or annoying.
Interestingly, the characters are never named except in respect of their archetypes. So we have The Colonel, The Wizard, The Doctor etc. The two male characters are strongly drawn but the women are rather lacking (no fault of the actors).
Strongest by far is The Colonel, played superbly by Carl McCrystal. This is very much his film and he has masses of screen presence. His character is at best unlikeable and initially appears one dimensional, but McCrystal does a great job at making him interesting and hinting at the deep waters beneath.
Visually the film is very stylish. Although it's in colour, much of it feels monochrome which fits the depressing, miserabilist tone. The running zombie scenes are filmed with quick cuts and slow frame rates, a technique which works well in small doses but can become tiring - fortunately it's not overused. Reuven's direction works very well at creating and complementing mood.
I was going to make a comment about the very last few seconds letting down the rest of the film, but having thought it through I realise they do actually fit.
As I said at the start, this film won't be to everyone's tastes. Another World is essentially a meditation on the meaning of life wrapped up in a post-apocalyptic scenario. I found it fascinating.