'Zola' Is An Uninspiring And Vile Mess
By Sal LoCicero | July 25, 2021
“You wanna hear a story about how me and this bitch here fell out?” No, not really. Zola is the latest film from every art hoe and film enthusiast's favorite studio; A24. Before we get any further into the story of Zola, we want to start off by stating that A24, the acclaimed company behind ‘Moonlight’, ‘Hereditary’ and ‘Uncut Gems’, is starting to become tiring. The reason why, is due to the same exact method of filmmaking that this studio has held on to since ‘Spring Breakers’ in 2012.
Almost all of their movies use the same artsy style with cinematography, lighting, structure, soundtrack, directing, and writing. Whenever a filmmaker comes up with a new story, no matter how good or bad it may be, A24 snatches it right up. In the case of ‘Zola’, A24 uses every old technique they’ve ever used, and it’s all present here. ‘Zola’ is about a waitress who becomes friends with her customer Stephani, she eventually joins her on a road trip full of dancing, stripping, prostitution, money, gangsters, pimps, and violence - all of which are based on a true story from a bunch of tweets from 2015. This is the prime example of A24’s lack of new originality.
From the first shot of this film, you can automatically tell who produced it. ‘Zola’ has everything that you have come to expect from A24 now. It has the trippy editing, artsy music, bizarre structure, and one of the most unlikable group of characters you’ve seen in any movie in quite a while. The fact that the filmmakers and distributors actually gave their time to create this uninspiring Spring Breakers wannabe movie based on a true story may go to prove that this studio is out of good ideas.
Nothing about this movie feels like it’s based on a true story. It feels so fictional and because this feature is based off of tweets, it gives off a feeling of disbelief about all of it. What adds to that feeling too, is its artsy style. This style gives it a magical look, although ‘Zola' is far from anything magical. Janicza Bravo and Jeremy O Harris storytelling only makes it worse. Their writing is all over the place and they try so much to make this journey creative yet there is nothing enjoyable about anything that goes on.
If this is the future of filmmaking, then we are already heading in an upsetting direction. If there was something that made this more interesting and new than maybe ‘Zola' would’ve been a little more worthy, but this is nothing different from anything we’ve seen in the past. It’s got the same exact structure, and it’s become exhausting.
Hopefully there won’t be any more films inspired by a social media post in the future. Hollywood can do much better than this and it is sad that they’ve gone down this path. Something like this should’ve gone straight to Netflix because they accept any kind of story that someone has - which is fine - but don’t take something that was typed on an app and make it a theatrical film unless it’s mind blowing.
Besides from the performances, this is an ugly and gratuitous feature.