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So as you know, I stopped writing lengthy reviews on this site this year, keeping the blog as more of a film diary of sorts.  Lo and behold,...

Friday, August 05, 2016

Movie Review - Z for Zachariah

Z for Zachariah (2015)
Starring Chiwetel Ejiofor, Margot Robbie, and Chris Pine
Directed by Craig Zobel
***This film is currently streaming on Amazon Prime***

In Z for Zachariah, a catastrophic radioactive event has seemingly killed everyone except for Ann Burden (Margot Robbie), a young woman from a Southern town nestled between two mountains.  Her family went out to search for other survivors...but that was a long time ago and they've never returned, so Ann spends her days with her dog trying to do as best she can alone in the world.  One afternoon, she spots someone removing a radioactive suit after his geiger counter tells him the area lacks radiation.  Ecstatic, the man runs to a nearby watering hole only to be greeted by Ann who tells him that the water where he is bathing comes from outside the mountain range and, thusly, is radioactive.  The man, John Loomis (Chiwetel Ejiofor), becomes deathly sick, but Ann nurses him back to health and the two become close friends, ready to do what is necessary in order to reignite civilization.  However, Ann and John's blossoming relationship is soon tested when another man, Caleb (Chris Pine) enters the picture and the three survivors must deal with jealousy, anger, and love - emotions that the trio had all but stricken from their psyches when they assumed they were the sole survivors.

I feel as if I've been watching a lot of slow-paced character-driven pieces over the past few days and Z for Zachariah is no exception.  While it's a tad too methodical for its own good, the allure of the film stems from the fact that there are only three actors and their chemistry and interactions with one another make up the entirety of the film.  Ejiofor and Robbie continue to prove that they are rising stars in the industry by taking on this small, indie piece to show us their considerable acting chops.  Pine, who I typically like, doesn't fare quite as well, but his character is the least developed so his intentions and motivations are the least explored.  Still, director Craig Zobel deftly explores the trio's emotions utilizing simplistic direction and production design in order to let his characters really be the defining aspects of the film.  The flick lacks forceful momentum and its heavy premise bogs things down, but it's an interesting, thoughtful, and well-acted piece.

The RyMickey Rating: B-

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