It is a great film for many reasons, not the least of which is that it can be enjoyed as a political thriller as well as a political statement.
| Original Score: 4/4
| Original Score: 4/5
| Original Score: 3/5
It's hard to overstate the impact that this Oscar-winning procedural thriller had in 1969, on a world roiling in political activism, repression, and discord.
Z, whose title is a stand-in for the Greek word zei ('he lives'), takes us back to where that fascination all began for Costa-Gavras and shows us that, for the rest of us, it hasn't ever really ended.
In its slick cinematic urgency and its outrage, Z still has the power to shake you up.
| Original Score: 3.5/4
Z combines the intellectual heft of revolution-themed films like The Battle of Algiers with the drop-dead cool of mod touchstones like Blow Out or Le Samouraļ.
This concession to cheap psychological realism still manages to stand out and stick in the craw.
| Original Score: 3/6
Fascism has been driven underground, but a dose of Costa-Gavra's electrifyingly brutal 1969 political thriller Z will rattle you all the same.
The military junta that ensued in Greece gave the film a sense of urgency approved by Cannes and Oscar alike.
This movie is for those who prefer for there to be meat on a screenplay's skeleton and who don't demand far-fetched conspiracy theories that play fast and loose with the facts.
A punchy political pic [from the novel by Vassilis Vassilikos] that mixes action, violence, and conspiracy on a robust, lavish scale.
The recreation of the murder and the subsequent investigation uses the techniques of an American thriller to gripping effect, though conspiracies are so commonplace nowadays that it's hard to imagine the impact it made at the time.
It is a film of our time. It is about how even moral victories are corrupted. It will make you weep and will make you angry. It will tear your guts out.
The usual excuse for films like this is that the crude melodrama helps communicate important political ideas and historical information, but Z doesn't communicate anything.