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Zenith
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Reviews & Ratings for
Zenith More at IMDbPro »

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26 out of 31 people found the following review useful:

Sure footed cult movie to be is very engrossing and very well directed,..although what's the deal with that ending???

8/10
Author: Matthew Stechel (mateob25@aol.com) from United States
27 October 2010

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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19 out of 20 people found the following review useful:

Almost perfect brain candy

8/10
Author: s-t-capistrant from United States
29 October 2011

An exciting stand-up triple that falls frustrating short of a home run. Wonderfully original and thought-provoking story covering the dystopian topics of power structures without rule-of-law, genetic manipulation on a mass scale, mind chemical crutches, and the erosion of scholasticism. Acting, sets, and cinematography all done well, which is impressive given the film's 12 dollar and 50 cents budget. Unfortunately, many story elements get tossed in without backdrop or development (how did everyone get genetically altered as soon as 2044, especially in a world lacking the organizational framework of governments?). It feels like the too-condensed movie version of a epic-length cerebral sci-fi book series, like Herbert's Dune or Card's Ender, but sadly, no such luck. Nevertheless, Zenith is brain candy worth chewing on over and over.

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12 out of 15 people found the following review useful:

Brilliant

9/10
Author: chelmhoz from NYC
1 November 2010

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

If you have read about it, forget the online meta-something story lines which accompany the film, the conspiracy and warning signs, and go see this film with a fresh mind - but don't blink! It is so dense with information and visuals that if you go for popcorn you will have a hard time to connect all the dots. It asks the audience to be alert and to participate in the movie, but it's worth it. Zenith obviously references/ is influenced by a lot of cult films, from Memento to Donnie Darko, with nods to La Jetee and Fight Club among others, but it is thoroughly original and unique.

The film is not really about conspiracies, it is about power and lack of it, and how we relate to it, and by extension, what choices we make. The director has repeated the concept of the experiment - beginning the film with the Milgram experiment, which is not a conspiracy but a test of obedience to authority (SPOLER ALERT) repeating the experiment in the middle of the film, referencing the experiment twice by a doctor toward the end of the film, and even the director is credited as "experiment supervisor." Peeling layer after layer of intense visuals and narrative threads, the film becomes an allegory on what it means to be human. Jack, or "dumb Jack as they call him" recites into the camera about consciousness and the states of the mind (and mind you, he is an epileptic).

Power corrupts, weather it is political, or the power that a parent can wield, and it is when the political becomes personal that we have to make a choice, as simulated in Milgram's experiment and as shown in Zenith. Jack doesn't give up, although he is doomed to lose. I don't think that I have ever seen a film like this, and couldn't stop thinking about it afterward. If your idea of a 'good movie' is based on Hollywood or even Indy films of the last decade, you will probably walk away unimpressed. But, as one of my favorite characters in Zenith rants into the camera, judging things without contributing or making something yourself can be self-defeating. Productionwise, the acting is superb, the look and camera-work amazing, the directing masterful, and the amount of complex philosophical questions squeezed into a 90 minute joyride (with sex and violence and suspense) makes Zenith a unique brilliant film.

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4 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

Fantastic

7/10
Author: knockemdeadkidd23 from Lethbridge, AB
15 March 2013

Before I even get into the review of this movie I want to point out one crucial thing, this is NOT just a movie, this is what several people on the inter-webs calls an "alternate reality game" ultimately involving people who watch the film, listen to the album or read the book. Great example is Nine Inch Nails album "Year Zero".

Now let us get into the meat of this beefy film, a few reviews below me had to have been done by someone who is involved with Fred Phelps,maybe they decided to watch it with family, and then there is the possibility this person hasn't seen an indie movie in his entire life.

This movie follows very close with the styles of Fight Club, with the narration, and such events that I will not disclose for your sake.

This movie/mockumentary will start out kind of confusing but it wants you to hang in there because not only are the following hour and twenty minutes worth it, but are crucial for you to get ANY grasp on this film. Without partaking in the ARG. The camera styles used are just as you would expect on a low budget film, but it doesn't ruin or take away from the film at all.

The acting is far from sub-par, but very well for relatively unknown actors and actresses, with slips here and there but its easily over looked. Sets looked as though this dystopian 2044 would be possible.

But the end, I didn't quite get it, its not as out there cause they're really is no end at the end of the movie, it is open for YOU the viewer to help Jack out, find out the true end of everything.

But to say that they used the "F bomb" too much is BS, I have seen holly wood movies use it more, it sillier ways than this movie did, and to say that the "love" scenes were anything less than a standard holly wood "sex" scene is ludicrous, maybe if it was Channing Tatum and Katy Perry it wouldn't be as bad, or maybe if they played some John Mayer while it was going on, its crazy to say it was over used over played, it set the movie with a different feel.

And yes there may or may not be a "rape" scene, but you decide, and tell me what you think. Also note they're MAY be an abortion scene... MAYBE you can help me out with that, maybe you have the 4:3 version that I could borrow to see more.

Just trying to state the obvious, this movie is at its best a mind bending twist of crazy, and at its worst... a mind bending twist of crazy, its no Serbian Film...

there is very little that hinder this movie from being a top movie in 2010, or even being viewed once by all who have netflix.

If you don't watch this you are missing out.

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3 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

False mirror

8/10
Author: mynameisnobody2014 from United States
6 December 2013

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I find it interesting how some reviews are full of rage and others full of praise. A great work usually does that. Love or hate it, it arouses passion. Time will tell but Zenith does push many buttons. Bottom line, if you like films only as entertainment don't watch The film. If you have an open mind and want something different see it. A dark futuristic thriller on no budget, the film occasionally overreaches but it's fascinating, beautiful to look at and the score is amazing. It's a heady movie but not preachy. The film is our allegory. Like Magritte's 'False Mirror' it looks inside out and outside in. If you agree to this premise you will enjoy the ride and contemplate its ending long after. If not, the film will fall flat as 'realistic dramatic construction' in three acts without closure. But I don't think it was meant to be that. We are living the future and with every day Zenith becomes more real. The film was not shot there but the desolate landscapes look eerily like Detroit.

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2 out of 9 people found the following review useful:

Blah. But much worse.

1/10
Author: Voyou Nobodysbusiness from Turkey
21 November 2013

Yet another case of misleading reviews. You are teased with terms like brain candy... well, like a candy, it certainly doesn't feed. Alas it doesn't even taste good. The container is as bad as the content.

Content first: Constant pontification on subjects that you will find provoking only if you were born after 2012. When the first sentence begins with "Fact:...", you instantly realise that you'll be listening to a condescending moron who thinks he will teach you something. I'm not referring to the character. Then he badly explains the Milgram Experiment, a ground-breaker, in the 1960s, and you start to think that maybe you should re-watch Verneuil's I as in Icarus, a great movie that one.

Don't go thinking that I'm bashing on the sole basis of the introduction. All along, you'll get hammered coprolitic gems like "who are you to judge if you haven't produced anything ?" (let's ask Cioran about that), "I know words no one else knows anymore" (well, we all know people who can speak 6 languages fluently but have nothing interesting to say), a USA-Great Britain one-world government (and Australia once again forgotten in that definition of global), "Pain makes them feel alive", etc. Nobody in the film crew has even realised, or dared to mention, how dumb the idea of paying for a pain-inducing drug is.

Zenith exemplifies a contemporary trend in which any brain fart can find an echo on the Internet and be proclaimed as an idea.

Container: To try to keep watching Zenith despite its early ineptitude is a true ordeal. First, the acting is atrocious. Not raw... bad. Absolutely all of it. Unbelievably incompetent. Strangely, all the actors are physically perfect for their respective parts, but none of them has any mike skill. Put the narrator on top of it for new levels of annoyance.

The camera work is of the same calibre. In every single scene, the camera is set at the worst possible place, or on a shoulder, or is a cctv sensor... It hopelessly tries to be arty, with zero flair. The lighting is equally awful, and so on. A sex scene is ugly, which is an unforgivable crime, repeated twice more. Scenes of violence are over before you realise they started; they have no impact; they are unclear, like everything else.

Using the word Independent as an excuse for incompetence is irritating. It is, in fact, an insult to independent cinema. There are masterpieces with the tiniest budgets out there. Watch Man Bites Dog, made by three students with no money (not even a university grant) using all their family members for a free cast. Brilliant. Because they have talent, unlike Mr Nikotic. Wait, I take that back: I don't need a masterpiece as an example; just watch a good independent movie, or an okay one, but don't bother watching the abysmal Zenith.

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23 out of 61 people found the following review useful:

A Masterpiece of Independent Filmmaking

10/10
Author: ImagineClaudeNow from NY, NY
29 December 2010

I had the opportunity to see ZENITH at the IFC THEATER in NYC.The movie was in summary at least 100 times better than INCEPTION. This is a statement for the quality of this independent film which was much less money to make than INCEPTION. The story was imaginative and associated with current society. The artistry in th...e acting and directing was quite evident. The acting was raw..and the story was up your face, and the directing and cinematography was genius. Each scene seemed like a painting which could be worth thousands in the art world. It was quite interesting to see at a moment breaking the fourth wall. This movie was provocative, thought stimulating, and a roller-coaster of goodies to see : A MASTERPIECE OF INDEPENDENT FILMMAKING ..WHICH I PREDICT WILL BECOME AN INDEPENDENT FILM CULT CLASSIC... Get some sleep before you go see this,... you will need all your brain cells so as to not miss one second of it. Hope to see it in big theaters real soon.

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6 out of 37 people found the following review useful:

Weak Storyline, Shocking to Shock

Author: aircooledkafer from United States
21 November 2011

I can't emphasize this enough: I regret watching this movie. We've all wasted time on worthless movies, but I honestly wish I could "unsee" Zenith. It's unnecessarily vulgar and completely worthless. Zenith is well done in the way that a birthday cake made of rocks and muffin mix can be well done. The cinematography is okay but nothing special. Acting was okay, bordering on bad. The Story is completely weak. It's not profound, and this isn't because I didn't "Get it". I know exactly what the movie is trying to do, but it just wasn't good. The concept it tries to deliver is actually really basic. It's nothing new. And they didn't even deliver it well. The movies description is accurate. People looking for pain because they want to feel ANYTHING other than happiness. I think this movie is something like a demonstration of such yearnings. The content is weak and useless, but it does deliver plenty of "Shocking" things... for the sake of being shocking. There are SEVERAL graphic dirty sex scenes that just make you feel uneasy and dirty. There's even a vulgar sex/rape scene between a Father and his Daughter. The kinds of things that burn into your mind and you can't "unsee" them. I'm not picky about the "F bomb". I really don't mind it as long as it's not used in a vulgar sexual way. In Zenith, they used it quite a bit like that. The movie has plenty of violence, but nothing worse than many movies you may have already seen. They push the envelope pretty badly when it comes to the sex, but not all that much with the violence. Plenty of brutal beatings, gunshots etc. A mild scene of a forced abortion. Don't get me wrong, there's plenty of violence, but I've seen much worse.

I continued watching this because I hoped that it had a worthwhile story. I trudged through the awful sex and porn crossing my fingers that it wouldn't have any more and the story would get better. Just more unsettling sex and a weak story.

I would say don't bother, but it's worse than that. Don't watch this, you may regret it. But seriously. Don't watch it out of curiosity now. You should be curious about it like you should be curious about what it feels like to lick a hot stove.

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