As you might ahve guessed, Zac isn't alone entirely. The film's most touching moment is possibly the one where a female survivor named Joanne (Alison Routledge) finds Zac's location. After a brief standoff, the two instinctively move into a comforting embrace, and the relief that each has to feel the presence of another seems to pour off of the screen. The film follows with a brief reprieve from insanity for Zac and Joanne, but this too is a short lived feeling of peace.
Everything changes for a third time when Api (Peter Smith), an imposing Maori man finds the duo and becomes the third member of what's left of humanity. Two guys and one girl is always a crowd - one that's been exploited by movies of all genres - and tension quickly develops. Zac is also increasingly concerned that another major change is coming thanks to his old project, which leads to a few awkward sequences where the film struggles to balance the sci-fi threat and the desires of these three characters. It seems like the easy way out for the film to go ahead and create a love triangle, but when you think of what's at stake here (the fate of humanity, for example) it makes sense that these people would get caught up in a few petty games. I don't mind the story adding this tension - it's essential in Zac's journey - but it throws a few cogs in the machine as we try to follow what's going on with the experiment that may have ended humanity.
It doesn't seem like I should say that the film goes through another major change - I think I've said enough about the plot thus far - but if there's one thing that becomes completely obvious throughout The Quiet Earth, it's that that Zac Hobson is something of a catalyst for mayhem. There are some pretty fantastic theories out there about what The Quiet Earth actually means (this is one of the rare times when I've actually found intelligent and interesting discussion on an IMDB message board, if that means anything) and the film works as a fantastic "AND THEN...." movie. (Meaning, of course, that every time the movie seems to be slowing down the screenwriters said "and then this happens!" and started the film down a new path.) At the middle of every development is Zac Hobson, and Bruno Lawrence always seems to give him the perfect response to whatever is going on now in the film's twisty universe.
It's abstract and it's bizarre, but The Quiet Earth sure knows how to keep a viewer's brain moving in the best way. It's not always profound - that love triangle and the tension that comes from it seems to fill too much of the final 40 minutes - but it always seems to have one more trick up its sleeve. If nothing else, the ambiguous ending is a jaw-dropping addition to the film, and the discussions that can be had after the credits roll are well worth the 91 minutes that precede them. The film's unpredictable nature, beautiful cinematography and fantastic lead performance are all great reasons to seek out The Quiet Earth, which still stands as one of the most unique science-fiction classics of the 1980s.