Z for Zachariah is a post-apocalyptic character drama. The film doesn’t show the usual bleak landscape. Instead our survivors live in a newly formed garden of eden. The story isn’t about the apocalypse, the apocalypse is needed just so our story can happen. There needed to be a reason for a deserted island scenario set in the middle of West Virginia Appalachia. The film is focused on just three characters and how difficult it would be for strangers to live together when it’s one women and two men.
The film starts off with Margot Robbie character, Ann, searching of supplies in a makeshift radiation suit. Going through her daily task we see she is completely alone, and Robbie does a fantastic job of showing how lonely she is without a word of dialogue. Credit for this should also be given to the director Craig Zobel. With just Robbie’s actions and a trusty dog Craig was able to frame how lonely life must be for Ann in a short five minutes. We don’t have to wait long until Chitwetel Ejofor character, Loomis, stumbles into the valley. We see him in some sort of radiation suit taking readings. He is ecstatic to find a place where he can survive outside of a suit.
This begins a very slow get to know you session between Loomis and Ann. The movie probably isn’t for everyone, but I enjoyed the interaction between the characters. Robbie and Ejofor did a magnificent job in their roles. Their portrayal of two people who haven’t interacted with others in a prolonged amount of time was spot on. Robbie was truly amazing in her role. She has played the trophy wife in Wolf of Wall Street and a smart confident thief in Focus. She transforms in Z for Zachariah into an innocent country girl. Ejofor plays a competent scientist trying to survive the end of the world. He is taken aback by how sweetly innocent Ann is, and seems not to want to take advantage of her.
The third individual to enter into our triangle is Caleb played by Chris Pine. Caleb instantly has more in common with Ann since he is a miner from the same area. This causes Loomis to become almost instantly jealous and protective of Ann. It’s this tension which drives the movie from this point on. Ann feels attached to Loomis, but has more of a connection to Caleb. Caleb seems not to want to stick around, but why would he want to go? The valley they are living in is picture perfect.
The three people need electricity to be able to operate a freezer and store food for the winter. Loomis comes up with a plan to use water to power an old generator. They start working on the problem and as a team get it accomplished. The ending of the movie is extremely ambiguous and leaves much up to the interpretation of the audience. I rented the movie and watched the last ten minutes twice to see if I caught everything. Even after two viewings I’m still not sure what happened. I have a leaning based on our characters, but it isn’t a strong feeling. You will have to watch and make your own conclusions.
The movie is extremely simple, three characters have to learn to live together at the end of the world. The premise: Grow enough food before the winter so they don’t starve. What makes the movie come alive is the beautiful Icelandic mountains and the three superb actors who make our characters utterly believable. If you are interested in watching a character study on human interactions I think this is a good example. Short review, but I don’t want to give anymore of the plot away. Give this movie a shot either on rental or in the theater. It’s worth seeing if you enjoy a good character drama.
If you have seen the movie let me know what you think happens at the end in the comments. So for those who haven’t watched don’t read the commentsJ.