While “Zipper” manages to serve hearty helpings of seduction and scandal, the somewhat single-tracked plot makes for more of a moderately arousing experience.
Don’t overthink it, just relax. Let them see the man underneath.
On one hand, federal prosecutor Sam Ellis (Patrick Wilson) is the ideal straight-edge champion of the courtroom. With a big victory filling his sails and a particular political puppet master courting him, the sky is the limit for this rising legal eagle. On the other hand, he goes by the alias of Bob Fisher, a spiraling sex addict hopelessly tethered to a destructive lifestyle of burner phones and $1,000 an hour hotel rendezvous, threatening the sanctity of his burgeoning career and ‘kodak moment’ family.
In this sometimes shallow yet texturally rich sex-addled thriller, we follow legal ace Sam Ellis as he staggers down a path of philandering, lies and exponentially deviant behavior. The film manages to pique interest with the core story and more risqué encounters, but tends to feel a bit dimensionally vacant without supplementary storylines to thicken the stock.
Cinematics (Plot, Acting, Cinematography, etc.) – 3
“Zipper” is visually palatable, capturing a gradient of emotions as the ravenous carnal desires take Sam Ellis from picture perfect federal prosecutor and family man and spiritually disfigure him into a depraved addict desperately soliciting sex without shame.
The script, penned by Stephens and Joel Viertel, is littered with well-researched nuance and realism. The core story of the film is engaging, unique and sinfully provocative, but the somewhat slim story diminishes the potential for a more suspenseful and gripping climax. It seems that the strides made to contain the film within a 2 hour vessel and bound to the next steamy scene, leaves the film with a dampened climax and a few lingering loose ends. While very captivating and superficially gratifying, the focus of the film focusing on the man’s addiction versus the man behind the addiction leaves some emotional distance between the film and the audience.
Behind the clean-cut image of Sam Ellis lies a perverse and potentially destructive time-bomb, and it’s about to detonate. Patrick Wilson (“Watchmen”) carries the film, delivering a grippingly perverse and committed performance as the hot shot prosecutor turned sexual deviant. Wilson ably takes Ellis from one moral extreme to another, believably ferrying him from a straight-edge legal ace, with a 14-year marriage an viable political aspirations to a spiritually vacant addict numbly watching his ‘perfect’ world tatter and fray. Wilson is able to connect, allowing the audience to embody certain qualities of Ellis relating through their own personal or observed experiences.
Lena Headey (“Game of Thrones”) returns Wilson’s volley, bringing to screen the very intriguing Jeannie Ellis, supportive wife, proud mother and former sharp-wittted attorney. Headey ideally balances the overt afflictions of Wilson’s Ellis, with a more secretive and mysterious character development. Although well-presented, Jeannie was relegated to more of a tertiary role and was ultimately forced to take a back-seat passenger to Ellis’s screen-hogging sexual addiction.
Two notable supporting performances were delivered by the film’s two ‘Agency Girls.’ Starting with Alexandra Breckenridge, we are introduced to a convincingly nurturing and covertly seductive Christy. Her scene with Wilson’s character sets the tone for Ellis’ depravity, but also presents a more relatable and human side to not only his deviance but also to the woman who satiate his carnal needs. Breckenridge’s Christy embodies the fantasy side of the call girl allure, the sensation of a vivid girlfriend-like experience. Conversely, Penelope Mitchell’s (“Vampire Diaries”) Laci showcases the more human, and sometimes tragic, side of the high-profile sex-worker. In addition to having a saddening lack of self-respect and a cloyingly macabre personal life, Laci’s final scene with Ellis in the parking garage is both the emotional climax and most moving moment of the film.
Ray Winstone adds another layer to the film as a seemingly sleazy journalist, who finds himself trapped between career and compassion. The film is also brightened by the spotty insertion of Richard Dreyfus’ assertive backdoor political play maker.
Entertainment Value – 3
“Zipper,” although at times slim on the story, has ample servings of sultry seduction and spiritual turmoil. The film is well-acted and overall a satisfying experience with all the sights, sounds and cinematic textures befitting the modern tale of a buttoned-down family man on a moral decline into sexual depravity.
Re-Watchability – 3
“Zipper” is well-shot, has ample sex scenes provocative enough to make Jenna Jameson blush, and an intriguing core story dealing with the prevalence of the high-profile sex scandal. There is enough to make this experience worthy of repeat.
Watch the official trailer for “Zipper” below.
“Zipper” is a Magnolia Financial Group presentation of a Protozoa Pictures and 33 Pictures production in association with Hyphenate Films.
Writers: Mora Stephens and Joel Viertel
Director: Mora Stephens
Cast: Patrick Wilson, Lena Headey, Richard Dreyfuss, Ray Winstone, John Cho, Dianna Agron, Christopher McDonald, Alexandra Breckenridge, Penelope Mitchell, Kelton DuMont and Elena Satine.
MPAA Rating: R for strong sexual content, nudity, language and brief drug use.
Runtime: 112 Minutes
Release Date: August 28, 2015 (In Theatres and On-Demand)
In the category of sexual drama/thriller, I give “Zipper” 3 out of 5 Patrick Wilsons.
- Entertainment Value
The film manages to pique interest with the core story and more risqué encounters, but tends to feel a bit dimensionally vacant without supplementary storylines to thicken the stock."Zipper" is well-shot, has ample sex scenes provocative enough to make Jenna Jameson blush, and an intriguing core story dealing with the prevalence of the high-profile sex scandal. Although the film is at-times overshadowed by the superficiality of the sexual theme, there is enough poignantly sultry content to make this experience worthy of repeat. Think "Scandal" meets "House of Cards."