The Canadian/ Brazilian co-production Zoom is a whirlwind of comedic creativity. Written by Toronto’s Matt Hansen and directed by Brazilian filmmaker Pedro Morelli (Entre Nos), it’s a unique collaboration that attracted some genuine talent. This mixed-media meta adventure with plenty of laughs is not to be missed.
A comic book artist (Alison Pill) writes a comic about a filmmaker (Gael García Bernal) making film about a novelist (Mariana Ximenes) who is writing a novel about the comic book artist (Alison Pill). It may sound like a narrative gimmick, but the filmmakers have fun with each strand on its own, with stories about disappearing penises, drug-stuffed sex dolls, and a jealous Jason Priestly. The film also features Don McKellar who plays off Bernal wonderfully as a sleazy Hollywood cliche. Because he’s the cartoonist’s creation, the filmmaker’s story is all done with rotoscope animation which helps keep the worlds straight while also letting it go places live action wouldn’t allow.
Hansen was clearly influenced by Charlie Kaufman, particularly Adaptation, which is certainly something to aspire towards. As the snake begins to choke on its own tale near the end, things get a little messy. We, the audience, are never brought into the mix, and that may have been a bit of a missed opportunity, but Zoom isn’t breaking the fourth wall, it’s breaking three third walls.
Even if it doesn’t quite stick the landing, Zoom gets high marks for its ambition and cleverness.