Starring: Sean Connery
Twentieth Century Fox
RRP 15.99
Certificate: 15
Available now


It is the year 2293. The human race has evolved into two divergent societies. The telepathic Eternals live in luxurious but passionless isolation in a realm known as the Vortex. Meanwhile the Brutals struggle to survive in desolate wastelands, their numbers ruthlessly controlled by the Exterminators, who carry out the bidding of a false god - Zardoz. Then one day an Exterminator called Zed penetrates the Vortex...

To describe Zardoz as a bit weird would be an understatement of the highest order! Writer/producer/director John Boorman (Deliverance, Excalibur) certainly makes a memorable and bold statement with this eye-catching allegory about class division and organised religion. There are some great images here, from the famous flying stone Zardoz head to the beautiful rural mansion and grounds, which provide the location for the Vortex. By dressing the old building with odd-looking inflatables, Boorman creates an environment that appears at once old-fashioned and futuristic. In this respect, and in the movie's very offbeat style, there is a distinct flavour of the TV series The Prisoner.

Zardoz is without doubt ambitious, but some aspects of it have not aged too well. Sean Connery looks rather ridiculous dressed in Zed's red loincloth, although few other actors could have pulled off that get-up better. On the subject of pulling things off, it is difficult to resist sniggering when Charlotte Rampling holds a seminar about penile erection, a physical ability that has been lost to Eternal males.

The character of Zed (a role originally intended for Burt Reynolds) is a real anti-hero. This is a man who has murdered and raped in Zardoz's name, although his enlightenment, which the audience is a party to, exonerates him.

The film print used for this DVD looks fairly clean and vibrant, although a few blemishes remain. And there is a decent selection of extras for the price: a theatrical trailer, four radio spots and an audio commentary by Boorman, who provides backstage revelations such as the Burt Reynolds trivia mentioned above.

Zardoz is a movie that should be tackled with your brain either fully engaged or else spaced out by alcohol! A worthy and high-brow sci-fi venture.

Richard McGinlay

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