“Zola” (2021) Movie Review

Director; Janice Bravo. Starring; Taylor Page, Riley Keough, Coleman Domingo. Rated R. Color. 86 Minutes.

“Ya’ll wanna hear a story about why me and this bitch here fell out? It’s kinda long but full of suspense” -A’Ziah King a.k.a. Zola.

Who would have thought that a real life 48 hour social media chain, comprised of more than 140 tweets, would be turned into one of the craziest and unique experiences at the movies. “Zola” starts off as a basic story of erotic dancers and speedily takes a hard left turn towards insanity. The visuals overall begin to mimic this unbelievable series of unfortunate events.

We begin with a glimpse into the real life of a young lady named Zola (Taylor Page). Zola is a waitress during the day and an exotic dancer at night. Her life seems to be going nowhere until one day things change when a customer at the restaurant stumbles into her life. Stefani (Taylor Page) is this crazy white girl rocking dread locks and some mouth on her face. Stefani instantly comes after Zola, and finds out she dances. With a high level of persistence, Stefani convinces Zola to join her and her two friends on a road trip to Florida where they can supposedly make way more money on the stripper pole.

Accompanying the ladies on this road trip are Stefani’s “boyfriend” Derrek (Nicholas Braun) and the mysteriously cocky driver who goes by X (Coleman Domingo). Derrek is a totally aloof stupid white boy who is a deer in headlights willing to do whatever, as Stefani has him wrapped around her pretty little finger. X seems like he wants to support the strippers, but once Stefani refers to him as her daddy, combined with checking into a shitty motel, it does not take Zola long to realize this guy is a pimp who now has control of her too.

The first night in town seems normal. The girls go to the club and proceed to twerk their asses off. Then it happens. Time for the ladies to go for the bigger money. With some deep internet app, the girls are put up on a site where men can arrange to pay for prostitutes. Zola wants nothing to do with this but she doesn’t have a choice. X quickly turns into evil pimp mode and threatens her life if she refuses. Fortunately for Zola, she has a great idea. Locked in a hotel, a man comes in. Fortunately he asked for a white girl, which means Stefani. After the deed is done, Zola realizes her cohort is charging way too little for these ‘dates’. She takes another picture of Stefani, puts it on the same website, and demands 500 a pop. Instantly the hits start to come in and what must have been a very long night of man after man, the couple brought in a cool eight thousand bucks.

When X shows up to collect his money, the huge payday in one night shocks him. Zola says she its out but X ain’t having his new cash cow hustler go. He pays her, but refuses to give Stefani a dime because he pays for her food and clothing. The poor girl is completely brainwashed by this a-hole, even turning her back on her boyfriend as her heart belongs to her pimp daddy by the end.

“Zola” is a bold downward spiral of a movie that tackles a world people do not want to talk about, and it does so by shoving the disgusting directly into your face. No punches are pulled. From the strip club to the hotel rooms to gangsters gang banging an innocent girl, the lengths to which men are willing to go to in order to get their jollies off is on full display. Director Janicza Bravo also concocts an intense atmosphere that exhibits the same level of crazy that represents the real life characters. “Zola” is not for everyone and does at times goes over the deep end. But the best thing about this movie is that it is not apologetic and tells things just like they are.

Suck Factor: 2 out of 7 (7 means your movie really SUCKS!)

The SUCK FACTOR. How it works. We have flipped the traditional ratings system upside down. If you have made an absolute masterpiece (say “The Godfather”) then you get 0 SUCKS!. If your film is an absolute disaster (Michael Movies) you get a full 7 out of 7 SUCKS!.

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