‘Z for Zachariah’ is refreshing filmmaking
Despite its post-apocalyptic backdrop, “Z for Zachariah” is not a movie about the end of the world. Though the state of the human race is certainly a component, the film is more about the complexity of relationships (especially under unusual circumstances). In scope, this is not a huge movie. It’s fairly contained, in fact, but the viewer slowly falls into this world that’s been effortlessly created by director Craig Zobel.
The film opens with our main character Ann (Margot Robbie), a resourceful woman who’s managed to stay alive and keep her farm productive in the face of a mysterious disaster that’s left the planet desolate. She’s surviving and keeping a life for herself when she comes across another human being: a scientist ravaged mentally from radiation exposure (Chiwetel Ejiofor). She takes him in, managing to nurse him back to health, and they form a distinct bond. However, this connection quickly unravels when a stranger enters the picture (played by Chris Pine). A love triangle emerges amidst the complications of survival and starting over, and the performances between the three are truly accomplished.
The dynamic between these characters is something that has definitely been done before, but there’s something refreshing about the simplicity of the film. At times, it feels as if it could be a play. There are very few elaborate settings, with a lot of the most important moments taking place at a dinner table or in front of an old chapel. Dialogue isn’t necessary in many of these small moments. Things can be interpreted through body language and the expression on a character’s face. It’s a certain type of filmmaking that you don’t see very often anymore, and I applaud Craig Zobel for his restraint and finesse. This is certainly one of the more thought-provoking movies I’ve seen all year, and is definitely worth your time. “Z for Zachariah” is now playing in select theaters and On Demand.