Zenith is a movie that plays tricks with its audience. Nothing is what it seems to be with this movie, including its promotional tactics. I’m not just talking about the extensive J.J. Abrams-esque cult of enigmatic blogs, websites, and YouTube videos that floated around for six months leading up to the film’s premiere. Describing itself as a “retrofuturistic steampunk thriller,” Zenith has flagged attention from curious art-house critics and the steampunk community alike, jumping on film festivals for both. Watching, Zenith, however, was a bit of a deceptive experience. No airships, no sepia-tones, no gears or tactile technology or mad scientists (though these were plenty of off-kilter people, and one strange British accent).
So, did Zenith live up to its hype? Retrofuturistic—okay. Steampunk—not at all. Thriller—sure, at least I was entertained.
[Cue in the drugs, sex, and debauchery]