February 8, 2016

Begin again


Z for Zachariah (Craig Zobel, 2015). To restart the human race, you need to turn a church into electricity. Filmed in our neck of the woods, which appears as an idyllic lost valley in an imaginary south at some unspecified time in the near future, Z for Zachariah, with its Christian-apocalyptic overtones, is wrenched out of the nuclear-fear 1970s to be recast as a gentle and symbolic fable about survival. At least one shot quotes a famous moment from Stalker, which is something you may not expect. Also a surprise: the typical urgency and terror of end-of-world stories is missing, replaced by a mysterious sense of benign purpose and direction. Craig Zobel also made Compliance whose lead character is not dissimilar to Margot Robbie’s serious, studious Ann here. Chiwetel Ejiofor is the last man. Chris Pine is the snake in the grass.