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In a hellish future where human beings have become stupefied by the state of permanent happiness they have been genetically altered to experience, Jack (Peter Scanavino) offers relief via drugs that cause his customers the welcome phenomenon of pain. But when Jack receives a mysterious videotape of his dead father, he sets out to unmask the dangerous conspiracy that has created this dystopian world. Written by
Sure footed cult movie to be is very engrossing and very well directed,..although what's the deal with that ending???
Zenith has a great set-up, once everything has more or less been laid out to the viewer as to what's happening. Its a plot line that calls to mind (and is kind of a blend of) 12 Monkeys, Donnie Darko (which this movie clearly yearns to be) and The Stepford Wives (of all things)but mixes and matches the 3 in such a way that it really feels likes it stands as its own film--which is quite impressive when you think about it.
Movie works best quite honestly when you know as little about it as you can going in--but since you're here on the IMDb--you're gonna figure out the plot eventually anyways so i'll tell you very briefly what its about without giving away any spoilers---In the future (2044) there's an ex med student dealing black market drugs (depressents mostly) in a bleak world where well the things that are bad in today's bad economy/ society get extremely worse. The drug dealer (who narrates the film in 3rd person) eventually finds out his dad was on a never ending quest to stop the current world's conditions from getting worse (which it of course did) and this quest ended up driving him crazy--a fate that the narrator is trying to avoid himself (its not really important what the quest is so much as that it getting done...but its something concerning the mysterious project zenith.) The narrator finds scattered videotapes that his dad left for him to ferret out what can be done to well save the world more or less from these nefarious people who would stand to profit from the bleak way the world currently is...and off we go.
This is a very clever way of having the plot being set in 2 different time lines while running concurrently--- both in the narrator's time (which is the future) and in the dad's time (which is in our current present) where you see the narrator's dad in the videotapes trying to do his thing--the film essentially cuts back and fourth between the narrator in the movie's present and the videotapes of the dad's adventures in the movie's past which is of course actually our present--OH movies--i love you sometimes!) Anyways that gives you an outline of what the film's content is without actually telling you anything about what specifically is happening-- how its happening, or whether or not it all adds up to anything or not. (hint--film tries to have it both ways in its ending...which may prove to be a little too cute for its own good--but by this point i was so wrapped up in the film's narrative that it didn't really matter until i thought about it after-wards.) Film is very very confident in its ability to grab and hold your attention--and it very, very much succeeds on that basic level. Film is extremely watchable-and is very well shot (and edited) to boot. The 2 lead performances are completely perfect. You definitely buy the 2 lead characters as presented. Even if the constant third person narration reminded me a little of Fight Club (another influence?)it was still very helpful in keeping track of what was going on, and which timberline we were currently in.
The only real flaws in the film come after-wards in retrospect while thinking about it--which is of course where the fun in dissecting it comes into play (and will no doubt cloud many viewer's opinions of it overall) But it doesn't really matter because you will be engrossed while watching it--you can debate later on whether or not film adds up to anything--but you'll definitely pay attention to it while its unfolding and that sheer watchable factor cannot be underrated enough.
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