Zola review

Zola is a dark comedy supposedly based on a true story. But is very eccentric, it retreads previous films and characters, and it relies on disturbing scenarios to a point where it is hard to find value in the film.

Taylour Paige plays Zola, who takes a road trip from Detroit to Florida to learn how to be a better stripper and make money. She is traveling with Stefani (played by Riley Keough), Stefani’s boyfriend Derrek (played by Nicholas Braun) and X (played by Colman Domingo). Zola’s trip takes a turn for the worse when she realizes that X is a pimp. Stefani and Zola are X’s actual targets, but he ends up taking control of Stefani and Derrek, who is just along for Stefani’s safety. The film has a disturbing plot, but there are fragments that are spiced up to try and make the film seem glamorous in a strange and unappealing way.

I saw Zola as a combination of Ingrid Goes West (2017) mixed with Hustlers (2019) and a whole lot of American Honey (2016). All average films and the combination had me struggling to find appeal in Zola.

I have also seen several of these actors in other projects and in Zola they play similar characters as they have in previous films. Nicholas Braun is nearly the same character we know from his portrayal of Greg in the HBO show Succession (2018). Riley Keough is playing the same attractive lady who needs attention as she did in American Honey (which was a much better film with a more honest premise). Taylour Paige has the same attitude that she had in her most recent film Boogie (2021). So, it seems that these actors’ roles are repetitive, and they need to find other, more memorable projects.

Zola was advertised as being based on a true story first told in social media, but there is no evidence that it was actually a true story. And given my view of the film, I saw no value in researching the real facts behind Zola. The film was just too unfocused, silly, and more disturbing than funny.

Trying my best to be positive here, but this film was just not a positive experience for me. Not the worst, but not good. The film did have moments that I enjoyed, but it kept trying too hard. I give Zola two stars. Overall, a crazy road trip flick that seems to be done on acid, and one that could use some retakes and edits.

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