Z for Zachariah is a 2015 sci-fi drama film starring Margot Robbie, Chris Pine and Chiwetel Ejiofor. It is a solid, but flawed movie.
It is set in a post-apocalyptic world where Ann is the only survivor until she stumbles upon John and later Caleb. This is a film that had so much potential, but the execution is so weak that it never fully realized it. I really liked the dialogue in this movie, it is really good. I also loved its slow pace as I found it quite suitable for this material. And the characters are pretty well developed and the relationships between them are well realized. However, the movie eventually succumbs into typical love triangle territory with all of its repercussions. Now granted, the triangle is actually way more sophisticated than usual, but it is still expected and I thought the movie would have been infinitely better without it.
Ann is a solid character. I really liked her and I never found her to be a weak character, but rather the opposite. Caleb was also pretty solid himself, but this is John’s movie and he is the highlight without a doubt, so well developed but also so likable and you genuinely root for the guy.
The performances are really good. Chris Pine is pretty good in a very unusual role for him, Margot Robbie is quite stupendous and really delivers, but Chiwetel Ejiofor blew me away with how good he is! He is such a great actor and he proves it here with such a fantastic, subtle performance and he lifted the whole movie to higher quality levels.
Z for Zachariah looks good with pretty good cinematography. And I adored the scenery at display here with some great nature shots. The directing from Craig Zobel is also quite solid and the acting is superb as mentioned above. The score is also quite good and the running time and pacing I found satisfying. I usually dislike slow movies such as this, but Z for Zachariah benefits from it. There is also some emotion to be had here and the movie does have a couple of clever themes. And it is grounded in approach.
However, the post-apocalyptic setting is lacking. This is a type of movie that never answers you any questions you naturally have about its setting and that I really find annoying. We never find out what actually happened and how did these three people manage to survive. We also never find out why the world, or at least what we see of it, looks so good when it was bombed before. I really thought that the sci-fi elements in Z for Zachariah were incredibly lacking and were disappointing. The dramatic elements are much, much better and had the science fiction in it been just as good, it would have been a lot better movie and it would have mashed better together. But this way, it just seems inherently flawed and immensely disappointing.
Z for Zachariah has good dialogue, some great moments, fine scenery and excellent performances with Chiwetel Ejiofor being absolutely superb, but the movie is still very disappointing because the sci-fi elements are never as good as dramatic elements, it leaves too many unanswered questions and the love triangle at the end was really annoying.