Zigzag

Screenwriter David S. Goyer's resume — DEMONIC TOYS, a CROW sequel, both BLADE movies — contained nothing that would have suggested that his directing debut would be a funny and touching human drama. Closely based on Landon J. Napoleon's 1999 novel, it's the story of Louis (Smallville's Sam J. Jones III), a slightly autistic, 15-year-old African-American...read more

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Reviewed by Ken Fox
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Screenwriter David S. Goyer's resume — DEMONIC TOYS, a CROW sequel, both BLADE movies — contained nothing that would have suggested that his directing debut would be a funny and touching human drama. Closely based on Landon J. Napoleon's 1999 novel, it's the story of Louis (Smallville's Sam J. Jones III), a slightly autistic, 15-year-old African-American who gets himself into a lot of trouble when he robs his boss of nearly $10,000. Louis, nicknamed "ZigZag" by his volunteer Big Brother, Singer (John Leguizamo), has an after-school job washing dishes at L.A.'s "Ye Olde Grub & Grog" for the flamboyant, cigar-chomping restaurateur everyone calls "Toad" (Oliver Platt, who's hilarious). While not quite in Rain Man's league, ZigZag has a head for numbers, including the combination to the safe in Toad's office. One night after closing time, Louis sneaks in and cleans it out. Louis takes the money in order to pay his abusive, crack-dealing father, Fletcher (Wesley Snipes), who charges his own son $200 a month to share a filthy apartment, but when Fletcher catches a glimpse of the wad of bills in ZigZag's hand, he takes the entire haul. ZigZag tells Singer, who functions as both Big Brother and a kind of surrogate father, and Singer flips. He knows the only thing to do is get the money back from Fletcher and return it to Toad's safe before the police investigation proceeds any further. The only problem is that Fletcher, who clearly doesn't care what happens to his son, has already used the money to pay off a scary strip-club owner who goes by the name Cadillac Tom (Luke Goss). Singer strikes a bargain with Tom, but in trying to get ZigZag out of a jam, he introduces him to a world of trouble. For all its crime-story elements, this richly colored, beautifully shot film is really a story of the friendship between Singer and the kid he calls ZigZag, a relationship made all the more poignant by the fact that Singer is very sick. Leguizamo and Jones are both excellent and the rest of the cast is uniformly superb. Natasha Lyonne accomplishes the particularly praise-worthy task of transforming the hooker-with-a-heart-of-gold cliché into a flesh-and-blood character.

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  • Released: 2002
  • Rating: NR
  • Review: Screenwriter David S. Goyer's resume — DEMONIC TOYS, a CROW sequel, both BLADE movies — contained nothing that would have suggested that his directing debut would be a funny and touching human drama. Closely based on Landon J. Napoleon's 1999 nov… (more)

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