Into a world of eternal life, he brought the gift of death

105 min     6     1974     Ireland


In the far future, a savage trained only to kill finds a way into the community of bored immortals that alone preserves humanity's achievements.


Wuchak wrote:
***When liberal fascism takes over*** Nearing the end of his physical prime, Sean Connery stars as Zed, an "Exterminator," who wants to discover the truth about "Zardoz," a gigantic menacing head and supposed god of earth in the year 2293. Zed stows away and sneaks into the "vortex" where live the ruling class of the planet, essentially futuristic hippies, extremely bored by their immortality. I was expecting something goofy like "Barbarella" (1968), but “Zardoz” (1974) is closer to "Logan's Run” (1976), yet weirder due to writer/director John Boorman’s eccentric style. It’s a completely serious 70's futuristic sci-fi flick, although Arthur Frayn/Zardoz (Niall Buggy) is amusing as a jester-like fop. “Zardoz” is a must for Connery fans as he sports a long ponytail & mustache and dashes around in a skimpy futuristic outfit throughout. Charlotte Rampling and Sara Kestelman star on the feminine front as leaders of Vortex 4, Consuella and May respectively. The former perceives Zed as a threat and therefore wants him executed whereas the latter finds him fascinating and perhaps useful. The cinematography, locations, score, sets, costumes and special effects are all pretty much first rate for the time period; just don't expect "Star Wars" class F/X. Actually, the flick's worth seeing for the Irish scenery alone. Yet it’s in the realm of themes that “Zardoz” soars. It’s about what happens to a society/nation/planet when liberal fascism takes control: The liberal intelligentsia lives in secure enclaves, enjoying superior technology and nigh-immortality wherein the women are controlling and the men effeminate. The deplorable “Brutals” live in the “Outlands” while the Leftist “Eternals” control them through hireling Brutals who are provided guns by the Eternals and dubbed “Exterminators,” which would be the liberal utopia’s police or military. Of course, only the Brutals are allowed guns, not the common people; and the Eternals are sure to keep the population down through the power they hold. I can’t help but think of the Left’s almost religious advocacy of the killing of millions every year through abortion. If that sounds heady, the movie goes even deeper, way deeper. The Crystal technology is like a superior form of our internet & smart phone. So “Zardoz” is a great flick if you’re interested in potent mindfood, but the viewer needs to have some knowledge of politics, philosophy, sociology and comparative religion to appreciate it. If not, you can at least enjoy the positive items noted above. Its biggest flaw is that the story isn’t very compelling, despite the great themes; Boorman’s script needed tweaked by someone who understood how to make a story engaging. The film runs 1 hour, 45 minutes and was shot in County Wicklow, Ireland. GRADE: B-/C+