In the distant future, a savage trained only to kill finds a way into the community of bored immortals that alone preserves humanity's achievements.In the distant future, a savage trained only to kill finds a way into the community of bored immortals that alone preserves humanity's achievements.In the distant future, a savage trained only to kill finds a way into the community of bored immortals that alone preserves humanity's achievements.
Just recounting a brief synopsis reminds me just how strange the basic story for this one actually is. In the 23rd-century, in a post-apocalyptic Earth, we have a character called Zed. He is an Exterminator, one of the professional killers who eliminate Brutals on orders from a god known as Zardoz, who in turn is a giant floating stone head who spews forth weaponry for the Exterminators to use. Severe doubts lead Zed to stow away in the head of Zardoz and from this vantage point he enters the Vortex, which is the world of the immortal Eternals, a group of fey fops who are guardians to human culture and art. The introduction of this savage mortal into their midst is the catalyst for irrevocable changes in the Vortex.
See what I mean? The synopsis reads like madness. This is about as far removed from a high concept movie as you are likely to get. Its story-line is totally out there. But that is a significant part of this film's appeal, as unlike most films this one is highly unpredictable. You just can't really work out where it's going to go next and this is something of a serious plus point in its favour. It considers the ideas of utopia and immortality, and the resultant boredom associated with each. There is maybe a little too much convoluted high-minded dialogue about various matters but some of the ideas connect. It's stylised in that it is the future as seen from the 70's. Some people used the word 'dated' to describe the likes of this. I personally do not like that word and consider it meaningless, moreover I think the look of the future from the point-of-view of the 70's is actually a pretty interesting one and is another plus point for this film. Visually, this one has much going for it generally, with some psychedelic sequences and surreal moments. It's colourful, bizarre and imaginative. In films so offbeat as this acting performances often feel like something of an afterthought but special mention has to be made for Sean Connery who is in a role about as far removed from James Bond as is emotionally possible. He goes around in a deeply unflattering outfit but does so in an impressively committed way, so kudos to Connery for giving such a serious performance in a nappy. Ice queen Charlotte Rampling is also on hand, as is perfectly cast as one of the aloof Eternals; it sometimes feels like Rampling only appeared in cult movies and, well, this sure qualifies as another one. In summary, Zardoz is most certainly not for everyone but it's a movie that grows on you, there really is nothing else like it.
- Aug 8, 2016