“Dead Ringers” meets “Crash” meets “Cremaster 3” meets “Stuck On You.” If I had to pick Greenaway’s main flaw it’s that he doesn’t leave well enough alone. There’s so much technique that any identification with the characters are impossible. In fact, my largest takeaway from this film was to further recognize how talented David Cronenberg is. This film swims in the same plasma pool as much of Cronenberg’s work, yet one never achieves the level of understanding or sympathy even the most difficult of Cronenberg’s work. Part of this is technical: one must wait for twenty-five minutes before seeing even a medium shot in “A Zed and Two Noughts.” There are no close-ups in the film. (Except for those of time-lapsed rotting animal corpses. And there are many.) I give the film mad props, though, for dealing with fascinating themes (even if they ultimately fail to gel at the end) and for just not letting up. “A Zed and Two Noughts” can stay on the same shelf as “Raising Arizona,” “Annie Hall” and Emir Kustarica’s “Underground” in terms of whiz-bang fast openings.
Jordan Hoffman is a New York-based writer and film critic working for The Guardian, Vanity Fair, Thrillist, Times of Israel, NY Daily News and elsewhere.
He is the host of ENGAGE: The Official Star Trek Podcast, a member of the New York Film Critics Circle and challenges you to a game of backgammon.