Movie Review: Zenith (2010)

Zenith by Anonymous is a 2010 independent film presented essentially as a secretive tape about solving conspiracy theories. With different components to the film, such as branched out storylines and video recordings, this is a movie that you could potentially write off as a “student-film”, but the concept is in fact, incredibly interesting. When I say student film, I don’t mean a student actually made it, rather the movie is more like a project than an actual Hollywood movie, which is in no way an insult, rather a compliment.

In Zenith, humans have been genetically enhanced to always be happy. Rather than being in a constant state of euphoria, the endless “happiness” has turned into numbness. To the point where people will literally pay for drugs to make themselves feel pain, including medication that has been expired for thirty years or more. Words that promote intelligence are also lost, as a way for the government to hold control over the people. What I actually love about that concept is the similarities it has to such books as The Giver by Lois Lowry and Anthem, by Ayn Rand, where people have forgotten the concept of individualism and words such as “I” and “me” are banned.

Law & Order: SVU’s Peter Scanavino plays the main character “Jack”. Although his role as detective Sonny Carisi is his most notable part, Scanavino has some acting chops that really are explored in Zenith. As a former neurosurgeon, Jack sells drugs that induce pain so that those who come to him can finally feel alive. At the same time that he’s peddling drugs, Jack is also investigating his late father’s work, which was essentially looking into conspiracy theories. While Jack says he has no interest in what his father is actually looking into, rather wanting a way to apply it to his own search; Jack regardless looks for the tapes his father Ed Crowley had made.

Similar to how my favorite movie ever, Fight Club; had a twist ending, so does Zenith. While the movie is not an action-packed thriller, it is a psychological, thought-provoking piece that has all these aspects of the books I listed above, as well as some touches of more modern-day cinema like Altered Carbon and other work that questions how much power the government has over its people. As I mentioned earlier, there’s a bit of a Blair Witch Project feel to it; where the movie is presented as Jack talking to us, sharing his experience, and his curiosity. Though Zenith is low-budgeted and probably a movie you wouldn’t think twice about watching, it’s regardless, a very intellectual film, and great for anyone who thinks of themselves as a conspiracy theorist. While not everyone may enjoy these kinds of films, I find it good to take a step away from mindless blockbuster action-packed, explosions everywhere kind of movies, to watch one that makes you think.

For those who are Scanavino fans, there’s a couple of steamy scenes in Zenith; so, just another plus of seeing this movie. Zenith is a little hard to come by, as it’s not on Netflix, Hulu, or even Google Play. But, if you have Amazon Prime, you can either rent or buy the film.

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