Mixed or average reviews - based on 5 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 1 out of 5
  2. Negative: 2 out of 5
  1. What's good about the idea is that it triggers the kind of debate we would be having over Iraq if there was a draft. What's bad about it is that the three main characters in Robert Malkani's script - anti-war lawyer George (Chris Klein), gung-ho cab driver Dixon (Jon Bernthal) and sissy novelist Aaron (Elijah Wood) - are not interesting, either as individuals or as three amigos.
  2. 50
    The actors -- especially Klein and Bernthal -- deliver startlingly powerful performances.
  3. Its view of the near future may be vaguely plausible and its performances persuasive, but its formulaic construction, internal inconsistencies and fuzzy ending undermine its integrity. It has nothing to say about the big issues -- manhood, war and friendship -- that hasn’t been explored with more depth and honesty in a hundred other movies.
  4. 38
    A lukewarm film about what might happen to three New York City friends if the draft were reinstated, proves that even the most controversial of topics can be the basis for the dullest indie films.
  5. Reviewed by: Ed Gonzalez
    With ludicrous gravity and a narrow-minded view of courage and conviction, the film's what-if scenario is presented as a reality check to every ostensibly unimaginative male who's come of age in the draftless years since Vietnam.
User Score

Generally favorable reviews- based on 5 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 3 out of 5
  2. Negative: 1 out of 5
  1. WhitneyB.
    Jan 31, 2009
    I loved this film, but it is a slow-moving, psychological drama. If you're looking for a quick thriller, this isn't for you. All three of the main characters are portrayed exceedingly well, with the outcomes seeming the only sensible ones for the developing story. I loved the camerawork, the relationships, and Elijah Wood was amazing. Full Review »
  2. StephenH.
    Jun 12, 2008
    This script plays like a made for cable TV drama with gutless screen writing that uses vainly formulaic gears to tweak the viewers emotions. it's like a swiss clock constructed by an apprentice who's only got 1 year in the shop. It doesn't work. Character development is so weak that it leads to boredom from the first minute. Another Indie film that dares to dream but delivers an wholly amateurish experience. Avoid this one and avoid a bad rental. Full Review »
  3. ChadS.
    Feb 29, 2008
    Stop me if you've heard this one before. A lawyer, a writer, and a cab driver walk into a bar to booze and bandy about the ongoing war. They're out-of-touch old friends who get-in-touch after all three men receive their draft notices. It won't be the last time they meet like this; lubricated, and in each other's grill, mano-a-mano, sparring about patriotism from a perspective determined by money and experience. Chances are, you haven't heard this one before. War is something our fathers, or our fathers' fathers partaked in. My generation had the choice to sit war out. My generation got a free ride is the prevailing message being telegraphed in "Day Zero", a nifty piece of alternative history that reimagines 9/11 as only the prelude to our war on terror. There's a second levelling, Los Angeles, and in reimagined America, rich men and poor men alike, as old as 35(yikes!), are called upon to fight against their will and better judgement. To be fair, each man regardless of his profile, are equally scared, equally flawed; no man is portrayed as John Wayne in "The Green Berets"; no man is burning to be relegated to bunkers and foxholes. But some people may find the movie's somewhat misguided agenda to canonize George(Chris Klein), a lawyer, of all people, a hero; while Feller(Elijah Wood), a writer, is saddled with the ignonimity of being a coward(not a conscientious objector, mind you, but a balls out-coward). Meanwhile, Dixon(Jon Bernthal), a cab driver, an everyman, who is neither a breadwinner nor an artist, acts as our eyes and ears, our judge and jury, as he performs the job of cornering the market on fair play. But George's awakening is of his own making. All of a sudden, he wants to be Ron Kovacs. In this sense, "Day Zero" is like the breech baby version of "Born on the Fourth of July". Full Review »