Zola (2021) Review: Cinema Is Back! (Written By Jaeden Noel)

Zola is the new A24 film directed by Janicza Bravo, starring Riley Keough & Taylour Page. Based on a series of tweets that went viral in late 2015, the film follows Zola (Page), a waitress who accompanies exotic dancer Stefani (Keough) on a road trip to work at luxury strip clubs in Florida. Accompanied by Stefani's boyfriend and suspicious roommate, the group finds themselves in deeper waters than expected. 

Nearly 10 years ago, A24 released Spring Breakers. A vibrant, bold, experience that defined a generation of teenage moviegoers. Now, in 2021 they did it again with Zola. Zola is one of the most unique and exciting movie experiences you are going to have all year. Immediately, we the viewers are taken into the hazy, yet transcendent atmosphere that director Janicza Bravo is no stranger to. And right from there, I was hooked onto the insane story this movie is trying to tell. 

The film is based on a crazy long series of tweets, making the film move at a consistent beat that never overstays its welcome. Screenwriters Janicza Bravo & Jeremy O. Harris did an excellent job at transferring a narrative from tweets to the film format. (Which honestly has never really been done before!) Even better, Zola's screenplay manages to find a perfect balance of mature themes and really funny moments. Even when it's not trying to be in your face funny, you sometimes can't help but laugh at the insanity that is being portrayed on screen. 

However, The true star of Zola has to be Riley Keough. The versatility she has as an actress is fully on display here. Giving her best impersonation of Halley from The Florida Project mixed with a little bit of Bhad Bhabie, the Independent Spirit Award is already in her hands. 

Just as Spring breakers has forever become a time capsule of what early 2010's delinquincy was, Zola will resonate the same way for the latter half of said decade. The late 2010's soundtrack was visceral of my high school days, the slang, the costume choices, and everything else in between sets Zola up to be "iconic af" for generations to come. 

At the end of the day, Zola is a wild experience that was well worth the wait. Seeing this in theatres in a semi post covid landscape will likely be one of the best experiences you've had at cinemas in a long time. I can't wait to see it myself in cinemas and pick it up on blu-ray come release. 

Zola gets a 5/5!


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