ZARDOZ (1974) John Boorman’s Zardoz is a bizarre allegory revealing society’s secrets as written and directed by John Boorman in which he illustrates how the future does prove the past. It’s a deep dive into the dark nature of man, his evolution and what happens when he attempts to control the laws of nature to become his own God.
Watching it today I see similarities to The Matrix and couldn’t help make correlations to the insanity and mindless compliance that seems to be running rampant across the globe and how Zardoz, a gigantic floating God head, like the media and power elite, has the same effect on the peasantry.
Zardoz is so worshipped that his words go unquestioned, so feared that his demands are always met. The control mechanisms today are not so different from the time the film was written and John Boorman could have used the entity Zardoz as a symbolic reference for anyone from the studio heads to the media to the occult-oriented bloodline families of the Illuminati, who I see as being represented by the spiritually advanced Eternals, the elite, who live in a protected bubble away from the savagery of the outside world.
Zardoz the God-figure establishes a confusing inversion of truth that is unpleasantly reminiscent of our experience today with the media and corrupt power players who rely on our ignorance to maintain their control. Sean Connery’s Zed, has his awakening when he reads the story of the Wizard of Oz and imagines the phony Wizard to be no different than Zardoz, whose name we then understand to be a reworking of the book’s title. The name also hints at the occult practices that have kept people enslaved for such a long period.
The fascinating and visually arresting tableau created by Boorman may seem abstract and weird on the screen, but it is much closer to us than many might want to admit. Boorman weaves interesting ideas of life, death, and spirituality in this fable of contrast and contradiction that will leave the viewer much to contemplate. When Zardoz says, “Go forth and kill.” you would never imagine that the statement might lead to enlightenment and truth.
A couple of noteworthy bits of potential symbolism include a strange bread-making device with a mysterious spiral design on it and which phallic loaves of bread emerge; and, of course, the Wizard of Oz references which will always carry overtones of mind control programming and MK Ultra. Recommended.
This review first appeared in the print version of Victims of Cinema. The first 50 reviews can be obtained HERE.