Z Movie Review

When one thinks of political assassinations, a couple of guys driving by a raconteur standing amidst a crowd then hitting him over the head with a pipe before driving away doesn't exactly leap to mind.

And yet Costa-Gravas had the presence of mind to turn the tepid story of thinly-veiled police corruption in 1963 Greece into Z, and somehow the world bought into it.

Nominated for five Oscars, Z would eventually win Best Foreign Film and Best Film Editing, which will forever baffle me, as Z is one of the least competently edited films I've ever seen. That said, 1969 is an awful year on the whole for movies -- only Midnight Cowboy and Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid are standouts, along with the un-Oscared Medium Cool (similar to and far better than Z), which also came out that year. Hell, Hello Dolly! got a nomination for Best Picture. Go figure.

The story, based on actual events, has Montand's left-wing Greek politico (though the film is in French and stars mostly French actors) assassinated by the aforementioned means, and despite what must be hundreds of eyewitnesses, the cops can't make a case. Jean-Louis Trintignant's judge investigates the case with barely enough effort to keep his eyes open (both the actor and the character), and thus the audience feels his sleepiness as well. In fact, it isn't until a nosy journalist pokes in that the truth comes out. And a horde of absolutely idiotic conspirators don't help the cover-up, either. Example (paraphrased) -- Crook: "Today's paper has an incriminating picture of me so I came to the hospital to yell at the witness!" Judge: "Today's paper wasn't delivered. Who told you to lie?" Crook: "Oooooooh no! I am caught!"

This level of "edge of your seat action" (as the newly-released DVD cover states) continues for two hours, as the Frenchies smoke, drink, and mumble their way through the whole affair. There's no "intrigue," no matter what the critics say. The acting is bad, the direction is dull, and the script remains at the level of an encyclopedia entry on Greece.

It's difficult to muster much enthusiasm for Z, no matter how acclaimed it is, especially considering that 1976 would bring the seminal political cover-up movie, All the President's Men. In that movie, Alan J. Pakula knew what he was doing in his handling of true-story material, and he didn't even have a murder to work with. Sheesh.

Cast & Crew

Director :


Comments

Z Rating

" Weak "

Rating: PG, 1969

Advertisement

Editors Recommendations

The Sound Of Seattle: Budweiser Made In America See How Music Has Changed In The Noisy City

Seattle has one of the most legendary music scenes in America so...

The Sound Of Seattle: Budweiser Made In America See How Music Has Changed In The Noisy City

Benedict Cumberbatch Stuns as Alan Turing in 'The Imitation Game' Trailer

It appears Benedict Cumberbatch has thrown his hat in the ring for...

Benedict Cumberbatch Stuns as Alan Turing in 'The Imitation Game' Trailer

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1 - 'Mockingjay Lives' Teaser Trailer

Following Katniss Everdeen's escape from the catastrophic...

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1 Trailer

Guess Which Insects Have Killed the George Harrison Memorial Tree?

A tree planted in tribute to former Beatles guitarist George Harrison has...

Guess Which Insects Have Killed the George Harrison Memorial Tree?

'Fargo' Creator Noah Hawley Teases Season 2 Plot At TCA Press Tour

After Fargo’s very definitive season finale (don’t worry, this article...

'Fargo' Creator Noah Hawley Teases Season 2 Plot At TCA Press Tour

Young Rising Sons - High (Acoustic)

New Jersey band Young Rising Sons perform a stripped down acoustic cover of their single 'High'...

Young Rising Sons - High (Acoustic) Video
Advertisement

Star Wars Episode VII: J.J. Abrams Performs an X-Wing Ship Tease While Plot Rumors Abound

J.J. Abrams has been incrementally dripping visual information regarding...

Star Wars Episode VII: J.J. Abrams Performs an X-Wing Ship Tease While Plot Rumors Abound

It's Official: Chuck Palahniuk is Working on 'Fight Club 2'

18 years since Fight Club ripped up the rule book for modern day...

It's Official: Chuck Palahniuk is Working on 'Fight Club 2'

Jamie N Commons - Jungle (Acoustic)

Jamie N Commons' new single with X Ambassadors - 'Jungle' - has been inescapable with it's...

Jamie N Commons - Jungle (Acoustic) Video


More recommendations

Advertisement