Sunday, August 30, 2015

Sean Kelly

My Thoughts on Z for Zachariah

A farmer who has survived the apocalypse gets into a love triangle with two fellow survivors in Z for Zachariah. Ann Burden (Margot Robbie) is the apparent sole survivor of a nuclear apocalypse, with the valley housing her family farm being sheltered from the radiation of the outside world. One day, Ann comes across another survivor named Loomis (Chiwetel Ejiofor), who helps her in rebuilding a sense of normalcy in her life, with the two eventually developing feelings for each other. When they come across a third survivor named Caleb (Chris Pine), it begins to cause friction among the group.

Z for Zachariah is a loose adaptation of the 1974 science fiction novel by Robert C. O'Brien and is directed by Craig Zobel (Compliance). The film explores life in a post-apocalyptic society, where most of the world has become unlivable, due to large amounts of radiation. For some reason, the valley where Ann lives is immune to this radiation, so she ends up working with Loomis to begin rebuilding, which includes using wood from Ann's father's chapel to build a water wheel to generate electricity, which is something that the very religious Ann does not feel easy about.

While I have not read the original novel, apparently one of the major deviations from the book is the addition of the third survivor Caleb, who becomes a rival with Loomis for the affections of Ann. This turns out to be a very "make it or break it" element of the film, since this story about rebuilding after the apocalypse eventually devolves into a love triangle about an attractive female farmer having to choose between a scruffy black man and a scruffy white man, in order to repopulate the Earth.

My issues with Z for Zachariah is at no fault of the actors and in fact this is a film that demonstrates that Margot Robbie is more than just a pretty face. However, the film really becomes much less interesting once Chris Pine's Caleb enters in the second half. The first half features many moral ambiguities, such as Loomis getting drunk and almost raping Ann. While the film does get into these darker areas later on, they no longer have the same impact, since they are in service for this love triangle.

While I can probably say that Z for Zachariah has some decent performances, at the end of the day, the film turned out to be a somewhat dull post-apocalyptic love triangle.

 ★ ★ ★ |  WATCHABLE 

Sean Kelly

About Sean Kelly -

Sean Patrick Kelly is a self-described ├╝ber-geek, who has been an avid film lover for all his life. He graduated from York University in 2010 with an honours B.A. in Cinema and Media Studies and he likes to believe he knows what he’s talking about when he writes about film (despite occasionally going on pointless rants).