Starring: Margot Robbie, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Chris Pine
Director: Craig Zobel
Running Time: 98 mins
Z For Zachariah is an American film about a young woman living alone in a valley miraculously protected from an apocalyptic radiation outbreak, until she comes across two men that cause complications in her life in an almost extinct world.
This is probably the quietest and most understated post-apocalyptic movie you’ll ever see, but deep down, it is truly fascinating. With great performances, impressive directing and an intriguing plot, this film is massively engrossing and surprisingly simple to understand from start to finish.
First things first, however, this isn’t a sci-fi in any way. The setting is in the post-apocalypse world, however that bears pretty much no relevance to the development of the plot as a whole, it’s just a background to put these three characters together in a more desperate and dramatic situation.
Instead, this is more of an indie romantic drama, so be warned, sci-fi fans, there’s nothing here for you if you’re just looking for something exciting and action-packed.
What this actually is is a fascinating study of humans in their most basic state: survival and animalistic desires, relating itself almost to Adam and Eve and biblical theory.
Therefore, the most captivating part of this film is the relationships that develop between the three main characters, as each of the men gets closer to Margot Robbie’s character, tensions begin to rise and a clash becomes inevitable, however watching these people act in such a basic way, driven by their pure desire for procreation, is hugely fascinating throughout, and at times even thrilling.
What really helps that to be so is the performances. Margot Robbie, in the female lead, is okay. It’s not a stunning performance in any way, but her character isn’t really the most interesting, as apart from her devout Christianity, she’s only really there to set the spark off between the two men.
As a result, it’s Chiwetel Ejiofor and Chris Pine that are most impressive. Pine plays a slightly smaller role, but successfully asserts his position within the trio and causes huge complications that turn Chiwetel Ejiofor’s character into the most interesting. Ejiofor’s performance perfectly conveys his character’s natural frustration and desperation in this situation, and that makes him absolutely brilliant to watch.
Finally, something’s got to be said about the directing here. Instead of fitting in in a long line of post-apocalyptic movies, this film, thanks to director Craig Zobel, doesn’t feel cold and as if there is some intense impending danger, but the lush nature of the landscape that the film is shot against and the clear serenity of the environment makes this a much warmer and calmer film that makes it all the more pleasant and engaging to watch.
So, overall, this gets a 7.7 from me, because despite not being a hugely gripping and intense thriller, this is a fascinating study of basic humanity helmed with great direction and fantastic performances.