Z FOR ZACHARIAH

Our growth and development is predicated on a belief that we are improving ourselves.  As a result, we move further away from our “humanity” – the belief in a higher order of being.

Craig Zobel’s Z for Zachariah is a dramatic and tense parable of the Book of Genesis.

Following a nuclear catastrophe and isolated on a West Virginia mountaintop, Ann Burden (Margot Robbie) has all the skills to survive. On a hunt one day, she finds Loomis (Chwietel Ejifor), a scientist from an underground government bunker.  He has the knowledge to improve Ann’s life and they forge a bond.  Lost and wandering, Caleb (Chris Pine) happens along, having survived the holocaust underground.  Caleb brings virility to both Ann and Loomis need to bring life to the farm back to normal.

Based on Robert O’Brien’s novel of the same name, Nissar Modi’s screenplay is powerful.  While Robbie plays the timid Ann quite effectively and Pine gives his token boy-next-door charm and wit performance in Caleb, Ejifor’s Loomis steals the show with his calming screen presence.

Shot on location in West Virginia, New York state and New Zealand, Tim Orr’s cinematography is beyond reproach, capturing rolling clouds below the mountaintop which are breathtaking and effective.  Colors are brilliant as are the shadows.  Amber Richards’ set decoration is also very effective at conveying the isolation and the limits of the elements leftover from modern civilization.  Heather McIntosh’s score is rich and lush, giving the movie another layer of detail.

The original novel was intended to be science fiction in nature.  The movie has a science fiction element to it, but is more focused on the biblical aspects of humans recovering following a major catastrophe.  

Z for Zachariah won’t be for everyone, but is recommended.

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