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(Today’s NaPoWriMo prompt was to write a poem inspired by an unusually named fruit or vegetable, and…I got nothing, at least as far as movies. So here’s a poem that mentions fruit.)

 

When Adam and Eve in the garden dwelt,
They had no sin to tempt their heart,
But even after the fruit was dealt,
One kind of vice had yet to start.

For jealousy to turn one green,
Another man must bear his glare,
And envy chanced to grow between
The sons of Adam, heir to heir.

As soon as two men shared the earth,
One’s jealousy did thin the herd,
And every day as more give birth,
More envy burgeons undeterred.
____________________

MPAA rating: PG-13

Post-apocalyptic stories are all the rage these days, as are films about isolation (Moon, The Martian, Room). Based loosely off a 1974 novel, Z for Zachariah combines these two trends into a slow but intriguing drama. After some unspecified nuclear disaster, Ann Burden (Margot Robbie) occupies a rare safe zone, where her family’s farm is protected by the natural valley. Into this valley comes John Loomis (Chiwetel Ejiofor), a scientist dependent till now on a radiation suit. Their relationship is respectful but restrained, since they both know that they would never be attracted if not for these dire circumstances. Despite their differences, such as their religious views, they seem to understand that a man and a woman alone will most likely go the way of Adam and Eve. However, potential bliss is hindered by the arrival of another survivor named Caleb (Chris Pine).

Z for Zachariah makes the most of its triad cast, with all three delivering excellent performances. The setting is also beyond reproach, with the briefly seen nuclear ruins outside the valley contrasting starkly with the lush greenery of Ann’s home. Where the film could easily lose viewers is in the pacing. On the one hand, the film’s leisurely pace is building up the bond between the characters and how it’s tested. On the other hand, you may be too bored to really care. I liked how the ending was a bit ambiguous, leaving room for some hope of a different outcome from the obvious. Strengthened mainly by its trio of fine actors, Z for Zachariah is a surprisingly restrained post-apocalyptic fable that illustrates how even the smallest of communities can turn “Adam and Eve” into “Cain and Abel.”

 

Rank: Honorable Mention

 

© 2016 S. G. Liput

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