Zola is an epic stripper tale if there ever was one. It has dancing, suspense, humor, and violence. Aziah King’s story seems too good to be real, but her colorful storytelling jumps off of the page, gripping audiences at every turn. Zola has been recently compared to the likes of Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, Spring Breakers, The Florida Project, and even Hustlers. Despite this, Zola stands on its own as a “period piece,” a relic of another phase of the internet that’s isn’t too far gone.
Zola suffers from some pacing issues, particularly in the second half as Bravo tries to strike a balance between the film’s shifting tones, and despite a breathtakingly tense climax, the conclusion leaves too many threads dangling to feel truly satisfying. But Zola is much more focused on the journey than the destination, and thanks to a darkly funny script and some dynamite work from the cast, it’s one hell of a crazy ride.