zforzachThere is a lot more depth to this story than the synopsis eludes to.

Z for Zachariah

PG-13  |  95 min  |  Drama, Sci-Fi, Thriller

**In theaters August 28th*

Synopsis: In the wake of a disaster that wipes out most of civilization, two men and a young woman find themselves in an emotionally charged love triangle as the last known survivors.

Review:  There is a lot more depth to this story than the synopsis eludes to. Granted the film can't go as deep in to the characters as Robert C. O'Brien's book but thankfully the script and performances draw it out in different ways.  

Ann Burden (Margot Robbie) is a young woman surviving on her own - so she assumes - in the wake of a nuclear disaster. Luckily her family farm sits in a valley that somehow has been able to withstand the after effects of the radiation. She is a quiet, spiritual woman who has grown accustomed to being alone. When Loomis (Chiwetel Ejiofor), a scientist, stumbles onto her property the two quickly form a bound and start finding ways to build a sustainable living environment. Her knowledge of farming and his ability to build and engineer soon have them on their way. It is only when Caleb (Chris Pine) mysteriously shows up that things start to get a little shaky. Two's company, three's a crowd they always say. 

The cast work wonderful together which is a must. They are the only three people in the entire film and if one of them is a tad off the whole effort would collapse. The m'inimal casting gives it the stage drama allure which helps to ground the dialogue and the story. This is not a perfect film and it does have a few flaws but none of that can be blamed on the writing or performing. It you were to find fault it would be in the editing which even for a 90 minute film feels lengthy. Some scenes hang on a tad too long. The lack of pacing doesn't ad to the atmosphere but instead makes the film slow and you walk away willing to forget the whole thing. 

It was enlightening to see Robbie in this role. Having only seen her in dolled up, look at my figure, roles in Wolf of Wall Street, Focus, and About Time watching her stripped down and simple proved she is more than just a photo-shopped face. Ann has a pure almost innocent naivety about her that Robbie conveys convincingly. We all know that Ejiofor can emote the drama so it was not surprising to see him master this one. The chemistry between the two characters was believable for a post WWIII environment. 

The addition of Caleb into the story is the twist that revs up the tension. It goes from an outward survival story to an internal human struggle. The root of jealousy and love and fear transcends any moment in time. Decisions of the heart are often harder than any other choice we make. And what we truly are inside shines brightly in these moments.

Z for Zachariah is rated PG-13 for a scene of sexuality, partial nudity, and brief strong language. The adult scenes are brief, non offensive and in no way gratuitous. You would see worse on Lifetime or Bravo. That said this is an adult story in its themes and dialogue. Safe for teens but certainly not of interest. I give it 3 out of 5 waterwheels. Solid acting and a thought provoking story; one that should stir you to read the book. 

Review - Matt Mungle - @themungle

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