Based off the science-fiction novel by Robert C. O’Brien, Z for Zachariah follows three people as they live in solitude after a post apocalyptic disaster. Directed by Craig Zobel, Z for Zachariah stars Margot Robbie (Ann Burden), Chiwetel Ejiofor (John Loomis) and Chris Pine (Caleb). These three characters are literally all the life you will see in the entire film a part from Ann’s dog that, now that I think of it, suddenly seems to disappear in the latter half of the film.
In spite of the capable performance by Margot Robbie as Ann, the mise en scene and setting was easily the real star of the film. The New Zealand back drop was the perfect setting to present the calm and isolated side of a post apocalyptic drama over the hustle and bustle of big Hollywood films. It’s refreshing to watch film where its narrative understands that you don’t have to have three different storylines going at once or a heroic journey that has to be accomplished; in Z for Zachariah this is what you get and this is the reality.
The prominent theme of the film was no doubt religion. Saying this, the religion is certainly not forced but instead used in a way that explores humanity whether that is through humanity’s purpose, our emotions or relationships. On the other hand though, it was difficult to watch a film with just two men and a woman and almost felt like it was trying to follow an Adam and Eve sort of vibe where the romantic interests were purely based off the fact that there was no one else around to form relationships with.
Those who can become easily impatient with films may find Z for Zachariah difficult to manage. Nevertheless, if you accept the pace, you can enjoy a much more ‘low-key’ and restful post apocalyptic drama.