Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Zardoz (1974)

Dir: John Boorman
20TH Century Fox DVD

It seems that Zardoz doesn't have the best reputation. That's fair enough, it's not a film for everyone. I do believe it provides insight into Boorman's personal predilections more than any of the other films I have watched up to this point. The story takes place in the distant future where civilization has been divided into two factions. One group are the intellectuals who have discovered how to become immortal and the other are simple folk that are being exploited for labor and population control by the actions of one immortal who poses as the god named Zardoz. What we learn is that the workers aren't as simple as they seem and the immortals aren't very happy living forever. Sean Connery leads the rebellion against the desensitized, deathless, philosophers that are manipulating him and, rising from a pile of wheat, kills the man he believes to be his God. This sets Connery on a path to discovery that his religion is all make-believe and only he can set the world right. I think it would be easy to dismiss the film just from the outfit that Connery wears, but it's ultimately a rewarding watch due to it's lofty ideas and deconstruction of organized religion. The effects are a product of the seventies but frankly I prefer them to a lot of modern tricks. The visuals are outlandish and add to it's cult movie appeal. Thematically, it fits in nicely with other films in Boorman's early work as we follow a man on a singular mission, even if the mission here is pretty grand.


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