One of New Zealand’s top directors, Geoff Murphy has taken a man-alone theme and turned it imaginatively to strong and refreshing effect in The Quiet Earth.
Plot centers on scientist Zac Hobson (Bruno Lawrence) who wakes one morning to discover he is alone in the world. A global top-secret energy project he has been working on has malfunctioned and altered the fabric of the universe. While humanity appears to be wiped out, all its materialistic trappings remain. For a time, Zac lives out his fantasies.
Then begins a search for other survivors. He finds two – a woman, Joanne (Alison Routledge), and a man, Api (Peter Smith). The emotions unleashed by this trio in their struggle for survival propels the story, which has an intriguing mystical dimension, to a shattering conclusion.
The film is notable for high production values. Acting isn’t far behind. Lawrence, a veteran of NZ films turns in a performance that is funny and moving, while Maori actor Smith makes a bold debut. But it is Alison Routledge who is the real find. Possessing a special, delicate, Madonna-like beauty, she invests Joanne with sparky intelligence and strength.