In theaters this week from director Craig Zobel and Roadside Attractions is a life after civilization and its “Z for Zachariah.”
The known world has been wiped out. Surviving in what’s left of her small town is Ann Burden (Margot Robbie). Days are filled with silence without the normal sounds of electronics, household appliances, cars or phones.
Walking on the town’s road she is shocked to see a man in a silver suit. Inside is Loomis (Chiwetel Ejifor) who is equally surprised to see Ann. Getting over the initial shock, Ann takes a very ill Loomis back to the home she once shared with her entire family.
Slowly the two get to know each other and Loomis, a scientist, shares with Ann ideas that would help bring her farm back to life. Excited for the first time in a long time, the two survivors work together to bring a little hum back into the silent days. Their evenings are filled with conversation, dinners and feelings.
Each day they grow closer until they are interrupted by another survivor, Caleb (Chris Pine) arrives. Young, handsome and even charming, Loomis gives him the opportunity to help around the farm while getting to know his story.
Three’s a crowd as tensions begin to put a strain on each relationship proving the world may stop but some human traits never change.
Robbie as Burden is a young woman living with in a world with innocence that is a combination of handicap and saving grace. Holding out hope that her brother is still alive, she keeps the home fires burning, even if it means gathering the wood herself. I enjoyed her girlishness but blinked and she wasn’t so girlish. The last time I saw Robbie on film was her role as Naomi Lapaglia in “The Wolf of Wall Street” and will be seen next year as Jane Porter in “Tarzan.”
Ejifor as Loomis is a serious character that is ingenious in the ways of bringing some of the old world back to life. Clearly he is a little less clever in the ways of relationships and in the new world being insecure is a downfall. I just love Ejifor because he has such a wide range of abilities to bring into any character he chooses to play. I rather enjoyed seeing him in this role because it is not bogged down with a large cast or special effects but instead what his craft brings to the storyline.
Caleb as Pine is a third wheel who, from the moment he makes himself known, has an agenda. I am never quite sure what that agenda and when it hits me I want to smack myself. No, I’m not going to share that here, we can have a conversation about it when we meet up for a coffee sometime. Pine gives us his best charmer character with momentary glimpses of not-so-charming.
The fourth character in this film is the surroundings, scenery and cinematography. Beautifully filmed from the open fields and streams, it also lends to the eeriness of an empty town and church. I can admit I found myself taken it by the scenery wondering what, who and if anything else was going to show itself!
TUBS OF POPCORN: I give “Z for Zachariah” three and a half tubs of popcorn out of five. With all the films dealing with the end of civilization, this particular film lets you know it’s happened but quickly focuses on the human factor. That’s what caught my attention most about the film and its three characters.
The film goes deeper looking into more than just a world gone wrong although I’m thinking the world is the only thing that’s right. These three characters survived being wiped out yet delivered the same pre-end-of-the-world-emotions of jealousy, revenge, greed, desire and a penchant for choosing feelings for feelings sake.
“Z for Zachariah” is inspired by the novel of the same name by Robert C. O’Brien, published posthumously in 1974. When looking for a film to see this weekend that is different and will have you leaving the theatre thinking, then check out “Z for Zachariah!”
In the end — believing she was alone, she wasn’t!