“How dreary to be somebody!”
Behind the glamour of Hollywood, there lies a fascinating fourth dimension that speaks towards the psychological damage that fame and substance has on celebrities and the consequential decisions this enables. And despite a fine score from Keegan DeWitt and a decently casted film (despite most of the characters being extraneous), the story that Gemini so desperately needed to tell within the bounds of the ambience created by DeWitt is wasted by the writing and directing of Aaron Katz. A film that desperately needed an individual with the directional touches of Harmony Korine (see Spring Breakers) and David Fincher (see Gone Girl) alongside the writing of Terrence Malick (see Knight of Cups) or even the Safdie Brothers—although I have my reservations after Good Time. Instead, what we get is a film trapped inside a shallow jar of stifled neon vapor.
Gemini tells a basic story of an assistant (Lola Kirke) to the celebrity character played by Zoë Kravitz who finds her boss shot down in her home by what appears to be a staged robbery. The event triggers Lola making rash, unseemly decisions of going around town like a Girl Scout and making her own inquiries instead of cooperating with the police (John Cho) who start to piece together a conveniently laid out suspicion of Lola’s character. Meeting up with Hollywood types possessed by strange stoic indifference and exhausting the patience of audiences with dwindling side narratives that expire under the weight of poor writing, Lola finds herself renewed at the end of all things as if nothing happened.
At times, it showed promise. Emily Yoshida (Vulture) notes a combination that made the fim worthwhile:
Andrew Reed’s cinematography and DeWitt’s score abstractly communicate something about isolation and the kind of vicarious living that we all do, whether we work for someone or follow them on Instagram.
In the end, that promise proved ephemeral. As Michael O’Sullivan (Washington Post) rightly notes: “the film . . . does so little to make you care about the crime, or its victim, that the whole thing feels like an academic exercise.” And while more films need to take the backdrop of atmospheric electronic scores and the neo-noir genre to paint the dark human culture of Hollywood, Katz was not the person to do it.
A decent film with a lot of unrealized potential.