Movie review of “Zipper”: Patrick Wilson and a very interesting Lena Headey star in this political thriller about a federal prosecutor whose bright future is sabotaged by his addiction to an escort service. Rating: 3 stars out of 4.
In the same way the 1980 title “Airplane!” perfectly suited a parody of the disaster-movie genre, “Zipper” sounds like a satiric farce about power and scandal.
But there is little comedy in this mostly persuasive thriller about a federal prosecutor, Sam Ellis (Patrick Wilson), who is courted to run for office at the exact moment his sexual addiction kicks in.
As with “The Runner,” a recently released drama starring Nicolas Cage, “Zipper” raises a question about which comes first: ambivalence about public life or self-destructive illusions about getting away with something?
Movie Review ★★★
‘Zipper,’ with Patrick Wilson, Lena Headey, Ray Winstone, John Cho, Richard Dreyfuss. Directed by Mora Stephens, from a screenplay by Stephens and Joel Viertel. 112 minutes. Rated R for nudity, sexual situations. Varsity.
Unfortunately, “Zipper” doesn’t dig deep enough into the mentality of self-sabotage, but this handsomely crafted, unnervingly sensual film by co-writer and director Mora Stephens (“The Conventioneers”) is more about the sin than the sinner. The film’s frank sexuality suggests an intense, unrelieved need in Sam, a button-down family man who discovers the lure of discreet escort services.
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Soon Sam becomes an insatiable client of a high-priced prostitution business, his trysts intriguingly staged by Stephens not as banal transactions but dark pools of unrestrained desire to drown in.
Contrast that with the seductive control of political power dangled before an uncertain Sam by a kingmaker (Richard Dreyfuss), and the resulting tension within him drives this film. When an FBI investigation threatens Sam’s world and prospects, he races to stay ahead of disaster.
What “Zipper” lacks in depth it makes up in interesting, morally shaded supporting characters. Most riveting is Lena Headey as Sam’s smarter, tougher wife, outwardly a model partner and mom but ever-so-subtly an erotically mesmerizing, alcohol-fueled fixer and avenger.