'Z for Zachariah'
Craig Zobel's adaptation of Robert O'Brien's 1974 cult sci-fi novel majorly tweaks the story by adding in a third character (Chris Pine's coal miner) to turn its tale of life after nuclear meltdown a love triangle. More importantly, the Compliance director shifts the tone from YA pulp to postapocalyptic mood piece, as a farm girl (Margot Robbie) and an engineer (Chiwetel Ejiofor) find their agrarian paradise interrupted by Pine's mysterious stranger. Only who's the serpent in this Eden? It's a simply told, straight-ahead work that trades in bells and whistles for atmosphere and great acting — an adult take on adolescent-lit that's gets under your skin. DF