Army of the Dead

Army of the Dead ★★★

Snyder is frequently cited as (and knocked for being) a right wing filmmaker, but I don't know if that squares at all with this movie setting up its premise as a joke about trickle-down economics, with each new recruit into the heist getting a smaller share of the loot. Like in Dawn of the Dead, he's wary of how people can abuse even marginal levels of authority and the unwavering self-interest of the upper class, and manages to get in jabs at the previous administration. Some of this is unwieldy, but it's not nothing.

Regarding the movie as an entertainment, it could stand to lose half an hour and trim its cast of characters, but there are enough good moments that I enjoyed it as a whole. (I will never not be down for cool helicopter shit.) Given its obvious Aliens influence, most of the grunts here don't have the presence of a Bill Paxton or Jeannette Goldstein to really justify their screentime. Despite being inserted into the movie via greenscreen after the fact, Tig Notaro's wisecracking, cigar-chomping helicopter pilot is probably the most fun of the lot. She feels like a supporting character out of a '90s Bruckheimer/Simpson production.

This is probably not any "prettier" than the average Netflix production, but the visual style here does seem more purposeful, with the relentless use of shallow depth of field giving the movie an isolating quality appropriate for the material. (This likely also made Notaro's inclusion less obtrusive. I'm sure more attentive viewers will spot the seams but I didn't find anything distracting.) Snyder's visual style doesn't seem conducive to humour, but that means when the jokes do arrive (mostly in the first fifteen minutes, but scattered throughout as well), they land harder.

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