It is difficult to discuss “Z” in great detail, mostly because it is a political thriller based on real events in the 1960s. The film opens up with the statement that any characters looking or acting like actual people is not a conicidence, it was done intentionally. Even though the film is in French, “Z” has a fiery passion for Greek politics, as the film reflects actual events that happened in Greece, where a no-nonsense judge learns that a hit-and-run accident against a democratic Greek politician might be connected to the Facist government trying to assassinate him. All of this is based off of an actual assassination attempt on a Greek politician who opposed the military dictatorship in place in Greece at the time and the outrage that it sparked.
I say this is difficult because of how deeply expressive and outspoken “Z” is about what actually happened in Greece. This isn’t like “The Great Dictator” where Charlie Chaplin pokes fun at Hitler and German society or bounces a large globe around like a beach ball, this is an outcry over a dictatorship murdering those who stand in their way and the helplessness the filmmakers feel.
The strange thing I’ve heard is that “Z” had a very dark sense of humor, but I guess that didn’t translate well into English since I didn’t laugh once, rather I was horrified to see the inner machinations of a dictatorship and the lengths they’d go to keep their power over the nation. I found “Z” to be a distrubing take on real life events that only got more unbearable as it goes on, as we find out just how deep the roots of the military’s power goes. Even if the film was meant to be a satire, it never once plays anything for laughs, only horror.
Final Grade: A-