Movie Review: Zola (2021)

Now in theatres from A-24 Studios.

An inventive free-for-all based on a frenzied series of real-life eyewitness tweets about the misadventures of two women on an extraordinary road trip, Janicza Bravo’s Zola (B+) brims with mirthful dark comedy and unexpected detours. Breakthrough star Taylour Paige is a delight as the wry title character “@zola,” a part-time exotic dancer lured into a Florida getaway by Riley Keough’s outrageous “@stefani.” They make a madcap duo, and Keough is a riot with a manipulative medicine show of emotions in her arsenal. Carmen Domingo manages to steal a few scenes from these brash co-stars as the ominous “X,” teetering on a line between charming and sinister. With surprises aplenty and shocks around every bend, Bravo marshals her ensemble with grit and grace. The tropical color palette and snappy editing plus droll throwaway one-liners provide the film with myriad memorable moments. The fact that it’s all a bit of a lark doesn’t take away from the creativity and the committed acting on display. This is a breezy joyride of an indie destined to coast into cult status.

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