No, this isn't The Catcher. Dear Christ, that was a cinematic tumor. This is The Battery. I remember seeing the title here and there when it came out a few years ago, but for whatever reason, I turned my back to it. Since I'm trying to catch up with new releases (or new-ish releases), I thought I'd give it a shot. I went in clean slate. Had no idea what the plot entailed, which proved to be fortuitous. If I had known that it dealt with a zombie apocalypse, I likely would have kept walking (metaphorically, you ingrates). I'm sick of zombies, I'm sick of "end times" entertainment and I stopped watching The Walking Dead midway through the second season. Sue me.
Luckily, The Battery reconciles shabby, overworked tropes and proliferates its budget in smart ways. Writer/director/co-star Jeremy Gardner utilizes excellent camera equipment to ensure that everything looks professional. I wish I knew the proper technical jargon, but I don't. I always feel like a dummy talking about this stuff. CAMERA PICTURES PRETTY. There. That should cover it. The film was shot on location in Connecticut, and eighty percent of the action (term used loosely) is outside in the ruthless daylight. Ben and Mickey - our mainstay combatants - do a lot of...standing. Well, that's not altogether true. There is some sitting. Don't go into The Battery jonesing for peppy stunts.
The arthritic pace does a number on this flick's replay value. "Arthritic" is the perfect word, too; the script budges along as if it were in crippling pain. The last half-hour is practically immobile. Was it riveted to an off-screen anchor, I wonder? An unseen pillar? The pacing does have purpose. Gardner wants us to feel how the characters feel. As The Battery opens, Ben and Mickey are among the last men on Earth. We follow them as they meander athwart open roads, vacant plains and tenantless houses. Occasionally, they encounter zombies. We are not given a reason for the canker of pestilence, and I prefer it that way.
Overall, this was a positive viewing experience. If you don't care for the characters, though, you're fucked. I, for one, was on board. I dig that they are baseball players. It's a small-scale detail that you don't see much of (outside of sports pictures anyway). When it comes to his leads, Gardner is big on details. Even ancillary players are fleshed out. The relationship between Ben and Mickey is complex, and they are both flawed heroes. The Battery shines when its central cast members simply have conversations. It helps that the performances are grounded on all fronts.
No gore. That's a drag, but it's not that kind of zombie apocalypse. It's the kind where Mickey masturbates to a zombie lady with ample knockers. Hey, don't judge. Think about it; this guy hasn't seen knockers of any size in over six months. I mean, there might have been a copy of Titquake somewhere. NOTE TO SELF: Next time, just say Playboy. You don't need to fabricate a magazine, cum-for-brains.
Posted by Dom Coccaro at 10:40 PM