Director Aaron Katz has always seemed to improve with each film he’s made, but with stylish thriller Gemini, he has produced his most ambitious and assured film yet.
A contemporary and relevant neo-noir thriller
Starring Zoë Kravitz and Lola Kirke as an actress and her assistant, Gemini explores and potentially hints at the tumultuous relationships real actors and actresses share with their assistants. As Kravitz’s well intentioned yet bratty actress Heather Anderson causes issue after issue for assistant Jill, they share funny yet touching moments of friendship that transcends their working relationship, a sweet and relatable move by Katz.
When Heather is found dead at home, the finger is pointed at Jill as her gun she’d lent to Heather was used in the killing. After witnessing this cataclysmic event that shakes up Jill’s life, the story begins to unravel and Katz has produced a thrilling game of cat and mouse to follow it. There’s so many twists and turns in Gemini that throughout it’s short 90 minute runtime the viewer constantly finds them questioning motives and it keeps them truly involved and on the edge of their seats. It’s not only a rather humorous script, it’s a well thought out, inventive story that really makes the viewer think.
Slick and stylish, if a bit rushed
Stylistically speaking, a huge amount of parallels can be drawn with Nicholas Winding Refn’s magnum opus Drive, with the presence of neon lighting being a constant with a synthy, electric soundtrack to complement. There are plenty of gorgeous shots in Gemini which makes it quite a draw, especially some killer long shots of LA, much like in Drive, capturing the essence of the city. An understated triumph also is the fashion seen throughout, with a lot of stylish outfits further complementing the visual style of the film.
There are elements of the film that don’t always stick however. Due to the short 90 minute runtime the story never pans out as much as it could have and the ending feels needlessly rushed, and it leaves one wondering just how good this film could have been should it have been slightly longer. Furthermore, similar to Hillary Swank’s cameo in Logan Lucky, John Cho’s Detective Ahn feels just a bit pointless, and doesn’t ever really develop, which is a shame as it felt like a waste of a good actor and character.
Overall, there are a lot of things to like about Gemini. From its Winding Refn inspired visuals and soundtrack to a funny and clever script that is filled with twists and turns and an intelligent ending, it’s impressive filmmaking and certainly Katz’s best to date. Timing issues and wasted characters aside, Gemini is a must watch for fans of stylish, intelligent thrillers.
Words by Elliott Jones