A potentially good film washed away in clichés
Ok so for anyone who knows me, you know I love Patrick Wilson. I freaking love Patrick Wilson. The man is as charming and charismatic as a man can possibly. Oh and he has an incredible singing voice. There's a presence he has in all his films, for better or for worse. But his luck in picking a competent director to deliver a coherent film has been....well.....awful. He has a few good films under his belt, (think The Conjouring, Watchmen, Phantom of the Opera, and Insidious) but almost everything else has been a disaster. As in he's usually not just the best part of the films he's been in, he's been the only good part. Think The Switch, Home Sweet Hell, Young Adult, and Space Station 76. Ya. All those films are must-sees believe me. Unfortunately, Zipper will be falling into that later category. So let's talk about the film, shall we?
I have a thing for political dramas, too. I will defend the latest season of House of Cards until the end of time. It's a guilty pleasure I know, but I will go out of my way to watch the latest film about politics. So I was definitely excited to watch this film. After all, how could something that combines Patrick Wilson and political dramas be bad, right? Well.....exactly like this. Zipper fails on almost every level of filmmaking. Why? It's trying to be so much more than it actually is. It's trying so hard to deliver a sermon on corruption in politics. But, instead of being the mindful and wise preacher delivering a thought-provoking sermon, Zipper is just the little kid in the corner complaining about everything. Why? Because it brings absolutely nothing new to the table. The message Zipper ultimately delivers can be summed up as "Hey! Politicians are corrupt. Aren't we thought-provoking?" That, combined with the fact that the film is so heavy-handed at every turn, featuring the most overly-dramatic music of all time and every shot of the film in extreme closeup, makes this film waaaaaaay too full of itself for having a message that is the EXACT same as every other standard political drama. I mean c'mon guys! Where is the creativity? It's nowhere to be found.
But it's not all bad! The film is wonderfully acted by Patrick Wilson and Lena Headey. Oh ya, did I mention that Lena Headey is in this film? The actress of great Game of Thrones fame more than holds her own opposite Wilson, and actually delivers the best monologue of the entire film. But, that's right before her character goes and does something that makes ABSOLUTELY NO F*CKING SENSE WHATSOEVER. Nope. Deep breath, self. We aren't focusing on the fact that apparently NO. WE ARE ADDRESSING THIS. ANGRY RANT TIME. Ok so I don't really have a problem with the fact that this film has the same message for politics as every other narrow-minded political drama out there. It still can be fun. But journalists too? Seriously? Ok. Let me break this down for you. It's a spoiler for this film, but you're never going to watch this movie so who cares right? So Patrick Wilson sleeps with prostitutes. Eventually the escort service he uses gets busted. Wilson gets investigated by the FBI, but they can't find anything so they give up. Then a prominent and critically-acclaimed (in the film) journalist somehow gets hundreds of pictures of Wilson, now gearing up to run for an open Senate seat, having sex with all these prostitutes. (The film never explains how the journalist found all these incredibly detailed photographs and the FBI couldn't but who cares right?) So Wilson is getting ready for this journalist to drop the story that Wilson has a zipper problem. (Hey, I used the title of the movie in my review! TEN POINTS TO GRYFFINDOR) He tells his wife, played by Lena Headey, that he's been sleeping around. She, naturally, becomes upset. After what is far and away the best scene of the movie, featuring a tense exchange between Wilson and Headey, what does she do? No. I'll let you guess. What do you think a film that's trying to be more than it actually is, wants to make a statement about everything but do so in the most pathetic way possible would do in this situation? Have Headey confront the journalist and offer sex in return for him killing the story? Ya. Sounds about right. This is comparable to any scene in a film that has a girl about to get raped then proceed to immediately have sex with the person who saved her from the man who was about to rape her. Yes. It's f*cked up. When the exchange between Headey and the journalist went down this route, I wanted to throw something at the TV. I absolutely hate it, HATE IT, when a film or any form of media today has no respect for the female characters in their media. It's despicable. And for this film to have its female lead, grief-stricken after just discovering that her husband has been sleeping around for the past few months with a significant amount of prostitutes, immediately throw herself at the journalist responsible for breaking this story in order to kill it is moronic and childish. Shame on you, Zipper. Shame on you.
Actually, the films treatment of women as a whole is insulting, as of course on multiple occasions Patrick Wilson's character is the "better man" and tries to save the prostitute from the life their living. Oh and the film hides behind the silly excuse of, "Oh, they're prostitutes so they'll have sex anytime, anywhere." Naturally. That said, sorry for the outburst there. I just hate it when films are so proud to wear their blatant disrespect of women on their sleeves. Now I'm so upset I can't even think about anything else this film does that's in the "good" category. Oh! It's a political drama. Did I mention that? I like political dramas. Patrick Wilson is still fun to watch. I wonder if he could play a Kevin Spacey-esque politician in a future film? That's about the most thought-provoking question this film left me with. Don't bother, guys. Zipper is not worth 103 minutes of your life.
The Critique: Zipper is the perfect example of a film that tries to be so much more than it actually is. An incredibly standard plot, combined with its horrible treatment of women, make this film a complete waste of time.
The Recommendation: As much as I love Patrick Wilson and Lena Headey, AVOID LIKE THE PLAGUE.
The Verdict: 3/10 Bad