Paul Elliott’s review published on Letterboxd:
Directed by Alex Winter, Bill in the Bill & Ted film series, Zappa is a biographical documentary that beholds the actor and filmmaker having unrestricted access to the Zappa vault. Winter performs a deep dive into the rich cache of archival footage, and the final creation is a two-hour joyride into the mind of the self-taught musician who was both brilliant and contrary. It's as weird and irreverent as his music but still functions as a substantial biography and examination that doesn't ignore the sexism in a few of his lyrics.
Winter follows Zappa through a structured narrative told through archival interviews, most with the artist himself, and utilises previously unreleased music from his enormous vault together with a plethora of home video footage. It emerges as an in-depth exploration of Frank Zappa's private life and his loaded, often controversial musical career, allowing a glimpse into a man who influenced so much more than just the music world. It's inconceivable to attach one specific musical genre to Zappa's prolific body of work, and in his own words, he describes how his taste and compositions became so eclectic.
The musician, an innovative artist who never stopped working, becomes examined in full. And in conjunction with his prodigious musical talent and excellent musicianship, the documentary illustrates that Zappa possessed a wicked sense of humour. Winter chronicles Zappa from his childhood to his death from cancer at the age of fifty-two, incorporating his first performances to becoming Czechoslovakia's Special Ambassador to the West on Trade, Culture and Tourism. Zappa materialises as a beautiful and candid ode to an extraordinary artist and his techniques to topple the mainstream.