Source material for films come in many forms, Hollywood taking inspiration from the likes of books, comics, memoirs and events in history over the many years of films being made. Zola is the first film to be based on a Twitter thread that went viral back in 2015, a thread being made up of a number of tweets either telling a story or putting a point across.

Zola (Taylour Paige), a Detroit waitress, is seduced into a weekend of stripping in Florida for some quick cash -- but the trip becomes a sleepless 48-hour odyssey involving a nefarious friend (Riley Keough), her pimp (Colman Domingo) and her idiot boyfriend (Nicholas Braun).

Zola very much had potential, for me, to be a disaster of a film based on the fact it was borthed from a thread on Twitter. I hadn't any knowledge of the thread prior to seeing the film but I just couldn't imagine it would have enough about it to make a good film. How wrong I was because Zola is one of the wildest films of the year that I had an absolute blast with at Sundance London.

Those worries were aside nearly straight away as the film starts with an energy that just becomes more chaotic as it goes on. It's a very funny film that isn't afraid to get dark when it needs to, director Janicza Bravo writing along with Jeremy O. Harris one of the more entertaining screenplays of the year.

As the film passed by, I kept finding myself in shock at the direction the story went from a simple start of two women meeting and dancing together in a strip club. Through the use of breaking the fourth wall and including the Twitter notification sound effect in particular moments, Zola manages to keep the audience on their toes, ready for things to escalate once more. It's all accompanied by a dreamlike score from Mica Levi, emphasising that this is in fact a true story.

A lot of the energy Zola possesses is down to the brilliant ensemble cast chosen to bring this story to life. Riley Keough and Taylour Paige do some great work as the duo brought together by chance, the fakeness of their relatively new friendship becoming clearer with every passing minute. Nicholas Braun is hilarious as the idiot boyfriend, continuing his brilliant awkwardness from his role in HBO's Succession, while Colman Domingo is the standout for me in Zola as a pimp with a nice to your face side but a ruthless side if things aren't going his way. It truly is a performance that will have you laughing one moment but terrified the next.

So there we have it, you can make a good film based off a thread on Twitter, Zola being one of those films with so much rewatch value thanks to the fantastic array of performances on show. With that in mind, what Twitter thread would make another good film?

Verdict: ★★★★


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