Director: Aaron Katz
Cast: Lola Kirke, Zoe Kravitz
Watch Gemini online in the UK: iTunes / Prime Video (Buy/Rent) / TalkTalk TV / eir Vision Movies / Rakuten TV / Google Play / Sky Store
Read our interview with Aaron Katz.
Between Mistress America and Mozart in the Jungle, Lola Kirke is a star waiting for the right role to break her out into the stratosphere. Gemini, an enjoyable modern noir, is a welcome showcase for her talents, as she plays Jill, personal assistant, manager and friend to precocious movie star Heather (an amusingly self-centred Zoë Kravitz). When a murder interrupts their privileged showbiz existence, though, Jill has turn private detective to get to the bottom of the mystery.
Boasting a stylishly rubbish disguise, she’s a magnetic lead in a story that relishes the template provided by movies – changed hair colour, stolen vehicle, an address book full of potential suspects – no matter how far from real life they may be. That disjunct feeds into this neo-LA noir’s fantastically sustained atmosphere, as Katz paints the city of angels as a foggy, ambiguous haven of isolated individuals.
From an eye-catching opening shot, Andrew Reed’s cinematography captures the glossy sheen of this superficial town, feeding into the script’s balance of millennial entitlement and dark humour with pulpy 40s suspense, as striking glass houses, shady hotels and shopping malls are accompanied by Keegan DeWitt’s gorgeous score, part seedy sax, part lonely piano and part pulsing synth.
John Cho is well cast as a detective on Jill’s tail, and his belief that Jill is the most likely culprit highlights the story’s other strength: the intriguing, complex bond between friends who are also employer and employer, would-be star and put-upon secretary. The chemistry between Kirke and Kravitz is convincing enough to ensure neither woman feels like a shallow stereotypes. The moment Heather asks to borrow Jill’s gun, of course, things are doomed to turn fatal, and while Jill’s tracking down of Heather’s ex, agent and an angry director is compelling to watch, the narrative’s second half doesn’t quite carry enough substance to pay off the twisting mystery, even with its concise 90-minute runtime. As a mood piece more than a page-turner, though, Gemini succeeds, a low-key piece of pulp that goes down smooth. If it takes a few more of these to make Kirke a mainstream A-lister, we’re not complaining.