Saturday, 19 December 2015

Z for Zachariah

Lowdown: In the end of the world, all that’s left is one woman and two men.
If, like me, you’re into video games, then there is a fairly good chance that, like me, your world has been occupied recently with the post apocalyptic universe of Fallout 4. And if you ever wondered what the Fallout 4 world might look like in a movie, then Z for Zachariah could be your answer. Its entire plot takes place in and around a valley that, for elusive reasons, survived the radiation filled apocalypse all around.
The plot pivots around Anne (Aussie Margot Robbie), a young and attractive woman who is resourceful enough to raid the local shops and raise the crops required to keep her, the last woman on earth, alive. One day she meets a wanderer wearing a radioactivity protection suit, John (Chiwetel Ejiofor, of 12 Years a Slave fame); she rescues him, and through his engineering background they start forming plans for the future of humanity. John, who happens to be black, does have a certain streak about him when he gets drunk, though.
Affairs get complicated when a second man enters the equation, Caleb (Chris Pine). He had survived because of his underground mining job; he’s white, he’s attractive, and unlike John the atheist he shares faith with Anne. Clearly, a battle for the world’s sole female resource is about to break. After all, the movie is called Z for Zachariah, with the Z standing for the last person on earth, as opposed to Adam the first.
I quite liked Z for Zacharia, a science fiction film based on a book from the seventies. What I liked most about it was its subtlety, the way it worked by hinting rather than the in-your-face manner I would expect. After all, given Hollywood’s tendencies, one would expect a movie featuring such an attractive last woman on earth to give porn a run for its money. Or to at least have the two men tear each other’s flesh apart. Yet while there is a scene one might describe as erotic, and there is some violence, this is not Z for Zachariah’s way. Instead of the visceral, us viewers are required to run the stats – black vs. white, science vs. religion, man against woman – in our heads. And the movie is so much better for it.
Overall: A fine take on the end of the world theme, I give Z for Zachariah 3.5 out of 5 apocalyptic crabs.

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