Director: Steven Soderbergh
Writer: David Koepp
Starring: Zoë Kravitz, Betsy Brantley, Rita Wilson, India de Beaufort, Emily Kuroda, Bryon Bowers, Alex Dobrenko, and Jaime Camil
Zoë Kravitz stars as Angela Childs in Steven Soderbergh’s Kimi, a Rear Window/Blow Out style film for the 21st Century. Angela suffers from agoraphobia, which has been made worse by the pandemic. She doesn’t leave her flat at all and works from home as a call analyst for Amygdala, a big tech organisation that has just released it’s new Alexa style product, Kimi. What makes Kimi different is that people listen to the conversations and requests to manually improve the responses and algorithm. It’s while listening to a recording, Angela hears a violent attack and starts to uncover a murder plot.
Stories like this, where it centres around a character uncovering a conspiracy and feeling paranoid that they’re next, are a dime a dozen. When done well, they have you hooked and on the edge of your seat. Films like Blow Out are timeless with the tension they create. Sadly, Kimi, isn’t destined to be a modern classic. It never delivers in the way it should, it doesn’t come close to keeping you hooked with bated breath. It feels like it’s just going through the motions.
The set up feels similar to last years underrated The Woman in the Window. An agoraphobic woman witnesses a murder and tries to convince people that it happened, while also feeling under threat by the conspirators. It just feels more rushed with Kimi. Angela’s agoraphobia is extreme, until she has to leave her house to continue the plot, and then she gets over it quickly. When one person doesn’t help her in the way Angela needs, other’s step up very quickly. There’s no question as to whether this is real or not, and before we know it Angela is uncovering a conspiracy that goes right to the top of the company.
Zoë Kravitz is very good in the film, giving a strong performance. Steven Soderbergh’s direction is great. There’s an incredibly tense scene where Angela is kidnapped into the back of a van during a protest while protestors try to free her. It’s visceral and is the closest the film gets to being excellent. There’s a moment when Angela first leaves her flat where everything feels slightly distorted and it really captures the feelings that she must be going through, the pure panic of being outside after spending so much time inside is something a lot of us can relate to over the last couple of years, even if it’s quickly left to the side to move the plot along faster.
Overall, Kimi is very formulaic and largely forgettable. There are better films in the genre, but it’ll do if you want something quick and easy to watch.
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