Starring: Zoey Kravitz, Erika Christensen, Rita Wilson, Jaime Camill, and Devin Rattray.
Directed By: Steven Soderbergh
Where I Watched It: HBO MAX
English Audio Description Available?: Yes
The plot: Angela (Kravitz) works from home , in an age of covid, where her job is analyzing data for an Alexa/Siri like entity called Kimi. While doing her job, she comes across an audio clip that convinces her someone was just murdered. And then the film gets all twisty.
What Works: If I was all certified and stuff on Rotten Tomatoes, I would want my little blurb to be “a delightfully magical film of perfect timing and extreme coincidences.: The truth is, even though Steven Soderbergh is a far cry from his days of knocking out films like Traffic, Erin Brockovich, and Ocean’s 11, he’s still the guy that did that. And when he wants to, he can make a good film. For whatever reason, he’s just been more focused on churning out films for streaming services that go nowhere, and are mediocre at best.
kimi is the best thing he’s done in a while, but it’s all just a bullshit flight of fancy. The way everything ties into every single aspect of this film is like watching a perfectly designed domino train wrapping around a house of cards built inside a Jenga tower.
There are so many coincidences in this film, it’s just good to throw out logic and accept this as some fantastical work. If you do that, it’s kind of perfect in its own way. Nothing exists without purpose, and everything comes back around, or finds a way to be important. In many ways, this script is stupid and lazy, but in so many ways it’s also brilliant.
I’m just assuming Soderbergh, based on the films he’s been making, gives zero fucks what anyone thinks, and that’s what actually makes this film work. It’s not some perfectly awesome Rear Window wannabe. It is its own thing, and you absolutely just have to accept the fact that this is the film you get.
And helping the cause is Zoey Kravitz, who is just perfection in this role. She’s only getting better and better as an actress, and I love seeing her in this lead position. After giving such strong work in Big Little Lies and High Fidelity, I want so much more for her, and this film at least does a great job of showcasing her terrific use of sarcasm and never back down style we’ve come to accept is usually a huge part of her characters, but always they turn out more complicated or damaged under the surface. Great work from Kravitz.
What Doesn’t Work: OK. So, this film is a bit much when it comes to coincidences. If I got into it, it would spoil the film, so sadly, I will not. Because everything about the twists and turns in this film are so based on chance that Kravitz’s Angela must play the lottery when this is all over, her luck is that strong. I know Soderbergh tries really hard to justify and explain every twisty choice, but since everything is too neat and too setup perfectly landing in our laps, it all is just a bit much.
I enjoyed the film, but the whole time, I still found it to be reductively pandering to a desire to have this film that somehow has everything so wonderfully connected.
Sometimes, the best films in this genre have our protagonist investigating something that they have no connection to at all. This goes the complete opposite of that.
The Blind Perspective: It’s imperative to have AD on a film like this where you are trying to follow a weaving plot and mystery. So, I was happy that the description here was well done, and I picked up on all the things the film wanted me to notice along the way.
Final Thoughts: This is either the most brilliant film so far this year, or the worst. People will have widely different reactions to a film where coincidence is almost a physical character. For my money, I enjoyed it, but even with that I can offer the asterisk of “but I know it’s stupid.” If I was still doing videos, I would love to do a spoiler version. I really want the guys at Cinema Sins to get a hold of this.
Will you be entertained? God only knows.
Final Grade: B