Z for Zachariah – Good, Bad & Ugly Review

Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 78% (Critics) / 45% (Audience)
Directed By: Craig Zobel
Written By: Nissar Modi
Starring: Chiwetel Ejiofor, Chris Pine, Margot Robbie
Studio: Roadside Attractions
Synopsis: In the wake of a disaster that wipes out most of civilization, two men and a young woman find themselves in an emotionally charged love triangle as the last known survivors. – (Source)


The Good:
This was a very pretty movies. Director Craig Zobel took great advantage of the New Zealand countryside (subbing for the coal mining valleys of Eastern USA). I also liked the tentative nature of the Loomis (Chiwetel Ejiofor) and Ann (Margot Robbie) relationship. The cautiousness on the part of both characters, the awkwardness they showed when faced with all of their differences and the nervous sexual energy that ran through their realization that as the (assumed) last man and woman on Earth that their relationship would inevitably turn carnal. And the notion of a black scientist and a sheltered girl from the mountains being society’s new Adam & Eve carried a lot of potential for racial drama to be explored…

The Bad:
Sadly the movie shied away from most of the racial aspects of this story aside from on line in a scene where Loomis mentioned it in no uncertain terms. I really wish there had been more of a focus on something that would have been hard to ignore considering the characters involved.
The film also was slow as a turtle with a bum leg…at certain points of the film it seemed like there was nothing but scene after scene of pregnant pauses and people staring at one another.
And where the heck did Ann’s dog go? By the third act the pooch was nowhere to be found.

The Ugly:
The film lost me with the introduction of the Caleb character (played by Chris Pine). I understand that he was supposed to throw the dynamic between Loomis and Ann off its axis but he also knocked the movie itself off track as well. Aside from Caleb and Ann being more similar (both from small rural towns and being religious for starters) than she and Loomis, I never really bought the tension in their triangle as much as the movie so obviously expected me to. And the unnecessary ambiguity of the triangle’s culmination didn’t do this movie any favors either.

Final Verdict: A nice take on the post-apocalypse genre that some really good performances and moments of well executed tension. However, the movie never truly comes together enough to make the film as a whole deliver on the promise of the parts that work.

Grade: C+

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