Guest Post: Sundance review of Z for Zachariah

Special thanks to Iba from I Luv Cinema for her Sundance review!

ZforZachariah1Boy the things you learn when you decide to just hop in and catch a film. For instance, I did not know that there was a source material to this three-hander, post-apocalyptic drama. Z for Zachariah, directed by Sundance veteran Craig Zobel, is based on the same-named sci-fi novel written (and published posthumously) by young adult author Robert C. O’Brien. With a big screen adaptation penned by Nissar Modi, the film stars Chiwetel Ejiofor, Margot Robbie and Chris Pine. Yup, that is it. No one else. So you better like them, because for the duration of the film’s 95 minute running time, they (and a dog) are all we have to entertain us.

ZforZachariah3From jump, we know something is horribly wrong, as the world (or at least this part) appears to have gone to waste. However, among these ruins, we also land in an ‘Eden” – a spot that seems untouched by the chaos. Ann Burden (Margot Robbie) is our guide through these landscapes. She is alone, that is until she comes across Loomis (Chiwetel Ejiofor), a scientist, who until fairly recently, has lived underground. Circumstances will necessitate that they work together to build a life; I mean, really it makes sense that when you find someone, they should become an ally. Or will they? Because just as we get comfortable with these two and the bond they are forming, in walks Caleb (Chris Pine) an enigmatic crasher to their party of two. Immediately tension enters our idyllic hideaway as the two men contend for Ann.

In a slight deviation from the source material, I find it interesting that the filmmakers decided to essentially split the Loomis character from the novel into two people. In doing so, it ratcheted up the tension, thus creating a post-apocalyptic love triangle. This definitely presents an interesting dilemma for her as she sees these two men essentially duking it out for her as the prize. They could not be any different in their approaches – there is the soft, slow burn of her relationship with Loomis starkly contrasting the raw urgency of her interactions with Caleb.

ZforZachariah2Aside from romantic complications, we also have before us a story with heavy biblical references; set in a paradise (lost) of sorts, there is a Cain versus Abel-like battle waging between the two men. Oh well, maybe it’s just me …

Overall, I would say Z for Zachariah was an interesting cinematic exercise. If you are a lover of a well-crafted love story set in the blight of an apocalyptic fallout, I suggest you take a look-see. It is indeed beautifully shot and well acted. In fact, the film did hold my attention until that very (ambiguous) end – which when you think about it, maybe was not so ambiguous after all …

It is ultimately up to us to decide.


Review by Iba

What do you think of this film? Are you keen on seeing it when it’s released near you?

11 thoughts on “Guest Post: Sundance review of Z for Zachariah

  1. jackdeth72

    Hi, Iluv and Ruth:

    Interesting film. That loos and sounds a bit too much like 1959’s ‘The World, The Flesh and The Devil’. Though, it’d be fun to see what Mr. Ejiorfor would do with a Sidney Poitier like role!

  2. Nice review Iba, not sure if it’s something I want to see. I like the sci-fi aspect of it but I don’t really care for the human drama stuff. A similar movie called Another Earth came out a few years ago that disguised itself as a “sci-fi” film but it’s actually a crappy drama. I’ll give this one a watch when/if it’s on Netflix since I do like the cast.

    1. Thanks! I remember Another Earth. I actually do not mind these types of films … I do know that if you are not a fan of these genres then it is hard. Like you said it is more drama-centric with an overarching sci-fi context but is not sci-fi per se. But I feel like these types of things are done intentionally because at their heart this and most genre pictures are allegories for the human condition in general.

  3. Hi Iba! Thanks so much for this. I’m still keen on watching this because of the cast, and the Biblical references intrigues me too. 3.5 is still a pretty good rating 🙂

    1. It was my pleasure Ruth.

      As you know Ruth I generally do not rate films I review. I have such a hard time creating cinematic rubrics 🙂 In this case, I hope my description was enough to pique a level of interest in this film.

  4. Pingback: Movie Review – Reign of Fire |

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