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zeros and ones

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‘Zeros and Ones’ review: Conspiracy thriller is a creative mess

A strange watch.

Zeroes and Ones sounds like it is going to take a familiar premise and throw it into the new normal of the COVID-19 world. Ethan Hawke stars in a dual role as two brothers who may be able to prevent a terrorist bombing in the Vatican. The premise is like many other conspiracy thrillers, but director Abel Ferrara manages to make it stand out, though not always for the right reason.

The film suffers from a lack of charm. For all the tension and drama in conspiracy stories, there has to be some humor in it. Zeroes and Ones takes things very seriously. There are not enough moments to take the edge off things. There are neon lit orgies and Russian agents in order to meet the fetish status quo, but this is not a movie that has any interest in having fun.

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Zeroes and Ones does have some interesting camera work. There is a dreamy look to many of the scenes. There are some neat drone shots and the use of shadows is particularly effective. Hawke is also good in the film despite not having much to work with. Zeros and Ones keeps things basic with its odd pacing and generic script. At least, its lead brings an authenticity to things. 

For all of Zeros and Ones faults, there is a passion to it that makes it engaging. Some of the dialogue is unintentionally funny and the plot is incomprehensible at times, but there is never a reason to stop watching. The film is infused with an energy that even makes it deceptively enjoyable at times.

Zeros and Ones comes to theaters, digital, and on demand on November 19

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