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Z for Zachariah

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Iceland, Switzerland, United States · 2015
Rated PG-13 · 1h 37m
Director Craig Zobel
Starring Margot Robbie, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Chris Pine
Genre Drama, Science Fiction, Thriller

In the wake of a nuclear war, a young woman survives on her own, fearing she may actually be the proverbial last woman on earth, until she discovers the most astonishing sight of her life: another human being. A distraught scientist, he’s nearly been driven mad by radiation exposure and his desperate search for others. A fragile, imperative strand of trust connects them. But when a stranger enters the valley, their precarious bond begins to unravel.

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What are critics saying?


IndieWire by

Even as the story’s increased tension weakens its subtleties, Zobel's sensitive handling of the emotional tone throughout grounds the film with an overarching realism despite the far-fetched setting.


New York Magazine (Vulture) by Bilge Ebiri

The descent into a tepid thriller of sexual jealousy slowly negates the abstract, almost metaphorical quality of this film — and it ultimately undoes the spell cast by that mesmerizing first half.


Hitfix by Drew McWeeny

Z For Zachariah may not be a faithful adaptation of a well-liked book, but as a film, it is a lovely, powerful piece of work.


New York Post by Lou Lumenick

Even an engaging performance by Margot Robbie as the proverbial last woman on Earth isn’t enough to save Z for Zachariah from becoming yet another ploddingly pretentious Sundance dud.


The Playlist by Rodrigo Perez

Its craft can be impressive: Zobel’s film possesses a searing, slow burn tone that’s beautifully controlled. The movie is admirably patient and gives breathing room and space for these relationships to bloom believably and organically. But the build to a climax is far too slow and with little emotional payoff.


Variety by Scott Foundas

Z for Zachariah is a handsome-looking film (shot in widescreen, on remote New Zealand locations, by veteran David Gordon Green d.p. Tim Orr) and it doesn’t lack for provocative ideas, though it never digs quite deep enough into any of them.


Village Voice by Stephanie Zacharek

The film works on its own terms, capturing, at least, the mournful vibe of O'Brien's book. What's more, Zobel's revision opens up plenty of space for the three actors who inhabit this circumscribed little world, all of whom are terrific.


Screen International by Tim Grierson

Z For Zachariah’s beauty is its simplicity, Zobel telling the story with a minimum of fuss and resisting easy explanations for his characters’ actions.


The Hollywood Reporter by Todd McCarthy

Craig Zobel effectively sets all its surface parts in motion but, crucially, doesn’t sufficiently develop that turbulent undercurrents of tension and intrigue that are called for in the hothouse circumstances.

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