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Reviewed by Wilson Morales
It’s very hard in Hollywood when you create a hit film on a certain genre and nobody wants to change your game. Jim Carrey can draw a crowd and be a box office hit when he does comedy but the minute he does a drama film, the audience is gone (Cable Guy, The Man on the Moon, The Majestic). Hopefully, the same won’t happen to David S. Goyer. Who is he? He wrote the screenplays to the hit action- genre films “Blade”, “Blade 2” and “The Puppet Masters”. In his first directed feature, Goyer has written a film that’s quite a departure from previous trade. “Zigzag” is a heartwarming film about being independent and surviving in the midst of domestic abuse and abandonment. The film also displays probably the best work from John Leguizamo and Wesley Snipes and introduces a talented new player in the film industry in Sam Jones III.
Reluctantly coming home to a drug addicted father (Snipes), Zigzag is an autistic 15-year old who works as a dishwasher in a crummy restaurant kitchen. As he rocks his head side to side to communicate, his father torments him to come up with some money or else he is out on the streets. Before seeking comfort from his “big brother”, Singer (Leguizamo), Zigzag steals some money from the safe of his boss, Mr. Walters AKA “The Toad” (Platt). Singer, who’s battling cancer, tries to repair the damage before the cops learn about his young friend. Although Zigzag learns about the ways of life through Singer, he is enchanted and learns through an unlikely source (Lyonne). With time running out before the cops or his father catches up with him, Zigzag must find the courageto do what’s right and escape harm.
Based on a novel by Landon Napoleon, Goyer has the story to new heights and to a new audience. Sam Jones III is a true find. To carry a film with a debut performance is difficult, but Jones III pulls it off. He is simply astonishing as the impaired kid. Snipes, who’s worked with Goyer in the Blade films, does a good job in portraying a crack addict. He’s hardly recognizable and that’s a good thing. Platt is commanding as the overweight boss who treats his Zigzag and his employees with no respect. Platt also adds some humor to his character.
Besides Jones III, the heart and emotional tug of this film belongs to John Leguizamo. Known for the flamboyant and comical roles ( To Wong Foo, Thanks for Everything, Julie Newmar, Moulin Rouge, Super Mario Brothers), Leguizamo does a 360-turn to his career with this bold performance of a man fighting a rare form of cancer. Lyonne adds beauty to a film that could be perceive as too depressing. It’s not. It’s well made, and notably well acted by the entire cast. It’s a story about innocence and “survival of the fittest”.
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