Critics have written about how timely Steven Soderbergh’s Kimi is. But it has other assets. Specifically, its B-plots contribute to a film that is a chef’s kiss 89 minutes long. That B-plot in David Koepp’s script, by the way, involves protagonist Angela (Zoe Kravitz)’s personal life. One night, she asks for her next door neighbour Terry (Byron Bowers) to come over. This is brave of them to do during COVID but in fairness a lot of us are brave. The film depicts the text interactions between Angela and Terry and adds a cartoony aesthetic to it. This aesthetic is one of many that Soderbergh uses in the film and the palimpsest mostly works as he finally gives us a good film five years after Logan Lucky. About time.
Anyway Angela and Terry have impersonal sex and awkward non-pillow talk, but it speaks to something timeless and universal. The critics I vaguely reference compare this to other films like Rear Window. However, I want to throw another comparison between both films and Fargo. Romantic b-plots are a dime a dozen in thrillers. But this entry to the genre crystallizes the fractured relationships between people. Love was difficult during the twentieth century when everyone was monogamous. It’s equally difficult in the booty calls of this century. Yet people still find connections and try to make things work with others. I also want to note that Kravitz has been seeking out difficult characters recently. And she pulls this particularly difficult character well.
Another thing about Terry is that he works in Seattle’s DA office. This is important to the film’s main plot. So let’s discuss that main plot, then. Angela is an agoraphobic tech worker who analyzes voice commands that Kimi customers make on their devices. And that sets the fictional product apart from real ones like Siri that use AI. One of the voice commands she hears has loud music in it to muffle something which she analyzes. She then convinces herself that Kimi recorded a woman, Samantha Gerrity (Erika Christensen’s voice). Specifically, that Samantha was experiencing a sexual assault. The film approaches the subject matter with what seems like gallows humour. Even innocuous things like ringtones startle her, and Soderbergh plays that for dark laughs. It’s as if conscious of viewers who would laugh at sincere versions of the scenes in Angela’s life.
That voice file is just one tech glitch to Angela’s parent company but she’s not going to let that go. There’s a silver lining in not letting things go, one of which being that that’s how movies exist. As it happens, the man committing the sexual assault is the man behind Kimi, Bradley Hasting (Derek DelGaudio). And the film touches on other quasi-related themes like a growing distrust in authority and institutions. Angela’s female boss (Rita Wilson) isn’t taking her seriously so she reluctantly goes to Seattle’s FBI field office. Of course, because it’s 2022, that office has protesters in front of it. The protesters’ catchphrases sound like the adults in the Charlie Brown cartoons. This is offensive although I was laughing about it to myself. It gets funnier and mild spoilers ahead.
Bradley’s goons (Jacob Vargas) try to kidnap her and the protesters rescue her. The only reason I’m giving conditions to the film’s passing rating is because of how inappropriate the humour is. Recent Soderbergh films aren’t this lucky. Kimi is apparently a third in the director’s series of thrillers, the second being Unsane. That’s a movie I took seriously because of its bad depiction of neuro atypical people. This newer film gives its themes a lot of levity and is on its protagonist’s side. Angela is a character who is the right amount of smart. Unlike many of the characters around her who are grunts, she has a conscience that makes her appealing. The stunt casting feels a bit not all men. But I’ll take it because of how it contributes to the gallows humour. And that needle drop in the end is everything.
Stream Kimi on Crave.
- Release Date: 2/11/2022