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  • Writer's pictureStrictly Films

Zola; Grade: B

Zola tells a story about a waitress named Zola (Taylour Paige) whom gets acquainted with a customer named Stefani (Riley Keough). Stefani and Zola enjoy to dance, as the two went ahead and went to a strip club to make some extra doe. Stefani offers Zola the opportunity in which to go on a trip down to Tampa and can make up to five grand a night, as Zola agrees to embark on this trip with Stefani. However Zola has no idea what she got herself into, as this trip will be a one wild one for the ages.

Zola was based off a story thread that was trending on Twitter, I do recall people talking about it and witness it trend, however I never gotten around to read the entire thing so I had no idea what I was getting myself into with Zola. In fact: I made sure I kept myself away from trailers and such, as the only thing I honestly knew going into this movie was it about a stripper in Florida.

From a visual standpoint Zola has got some unique visuals. I love how the film looked, got some lovely set pieces and love how the colors felt all vibrant in a way, very classical looking film. One of the things about the film making I found cool were the sequences on the car ride to Florida, as I found the whole go-pro IPhone like visuals as the characters record themselves singing and dancing to be totally rad. Followed by an elegant score, I throughly enjoyed the simple harp like melody played in several sequences.

Cast all in all were quite solid as a whole. Taylour Paige playing Zola I found to have a solid performance, as one whom is just baffled by the ongoing events happening on this Florida trip was spot on. Zola plays the more sensible one of the group, as her intentions was to have fun and make money, but not make money by how this woman whom she just got acquainted with does. Riley Keough was bat shit crazy as Stefani, how she displays dialogue in several moments had me baffled in a good way just how completely bizarre this character is, as it was a really good performance. Nicholas Braun playing Stefani's boyfriend played a solid performance, however I found this character easily the least likable character. He's honestly the biggest moron of the group, how he stays committed to a woman like Stefani made absolute no sense, but given Derrek's personality and posture... You can understand why he's such a goofy. Colman Domingo playing the character X was the weakest performance, I felt he was inconsistent with his accent. At one moment he's attempting an American accent and the next thing he's attempting an African like accent... Wish there was more consistency there.

I can see why a Twitter Thread like this was made into a feature film: It's obviously engaging, interesting, and most certainly entertaining some as it's quite perfect to be made into a feature length film.

Zola is a unique original film that is fairly written and steadily paced. The story does quite a good job in keeping the audience engaged from start to finish, as we're instantly involved and curious as what is bound to happen on this trip in Tampa. I will say this film has several memorable comedic moments, as it's thoroughly funny. Whether it be the bizarre dialogue spoken by the characters or the situations at hand... It's very funny indeed.

Zola however encounters several flaws. I do believe the film's run time is extremely short, when the film abruptly ends I honestly felt quite disappointed as I believe another half an hour is a must, or at least conclude what happens with our characters and their final destination at hand. There's a couple things within the execution of Zola I didn't really care for. The awkward pauses as Zola speaks about characters and such sometimes slowed down the momentum of the film. Speaking of which: When Zola talks about the relationship between Stefani and her boyfriend... The joke missed for me. The whole sequence of Stefani giving her side of the story through Reddit felt kind of pointless for me, I guess on a comedic standpoint is was funny, but as a whole... I would've just cut it and just executed an ending for the film instead, in which the film actually needed one.

There's a fair amount to like and appreciate from Zola, I think it's a cool little film with a neat concept at hand, as there was an actual purpose for this film being told. I just wish it was longer was all.

Overall, Zola was a solid film. I recommend checking this one out, certainly worth the watch and can brighten up the mood with laughter and such. -Mitch Smietana

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