September 01, 2015

Z for Zachariah (2015)

Z for Zachariah (2015) - Movie Review
Directed by: Craig Zobel
Country: Iceland / New Zealand / others

Movie Review: The post-apocalyptic sci-fi novel, “Z for Zachariah”, by Robert C. O'Brien, was the source material for the fourth feature-length from director Craig Zobel who gained some notoriety with his previous film “Compliance”. If Mr. Zobel was far from impressing me with the latter, he doesn’t do much better in this one. Instead of the teenage protagonist of the book, Zobel and his screenwriter, Nissar Modi, opt for an adult version of the character, played by the unrecognizable Margot Robbie, who has generated some buzz with her small but memorable part in “The Wolf of Wall Street”. In this brittle thriller, she’s Ann, the hypothetically unique survivor of a radioactive catastrophe that contaminated the Earth and destroyed the rest of the human race. Devoted to God, she’s immensely thankful for the ‘untouched’ piece of land (fertile soil and a pond with fish) that allows her to live healthily, and shows to be a tireless hard worker who accepts the fate of having to live alone with her dog for the rest of her days. A certain day, however, she bumps into a skittish man, John (Chiwetel Ejiofor), who rushes into contaminated waters. She gently takes care of him when he falls sick, praying fervently to God to save him. At a first glance, John seemed a tricky guy, acting suspiciously, sometimes bossy, and even aggressive when he gets drunk. Ann, in need of physical contact and considering the repopulation of the Earth, urges him into sex, but he disappoints her in that particular aspect. Ultimately, he falls in love with her, but what could have been a relaxing life in duo, is turned upside down when another stranger, Caleb (Chris Pine), arrives to compete for the last existing woman, bringing tiny portions of tension into their little paradise. Thrills are scarce, and every attempt to make them work out falls into dullness and conventional. This is aggravated by the fact that the film, beyond predictable, lingers on lukewarm situations for an eternity, where we never feel real empathy for the characters or perceive any sustainable passion sprouting from the love triangle. “Z for Zachariah” was more like “Z for Zzzz” to me. It’s another deceitful low-budget machination that leaves us lethargically dormant.

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