BAMcinemaFest 2017 Review: ‘Gemini’

The film opens up with a flipped view of palm trees on a melancholy purple sky of twilight in Los Angeles, serving almost as a notice that the film will be nothing like the glittering starlight of the Los Angeles in La La Land. Instead, Gemini gets intimate and grounded within the reality of the life of a Hollywood star and a gruesome murder in Beverly Hills.

Aaron Katz is back with his latest film, Gemini, showcasing the relationship between a Hollywood star, Heather Anderson (Zoë Kravitz), and her assistant, Jill LeBeau (Lola Kirke). Things start smoothly enough, with a talk in a car between the two that immediately sets up the sisterly relationship between the them as well as Heather’s reluctance to continue participating in a film. As they get away from some overzealous paparazzi and a young fan with a striking resemblance to the star, Heather asks for Jill’s gun, claiming she feels unsafe in the city, and Jill relents. The next morning, Jill returns from an errand to Heather’s home to find the star’s body in a pool of blood and the gun with Jill’s fingerprints still on it lying next to her.

Jill, now on the run from Detective Edward Ahn (John Cho) and the rest of the LAPD, who believe she might be the perpetrator, strikes out to find out the truth for herself, turning LA into a city where danger might lurk around any corner. She proves to be a worthy adversary and protagonist, managing to evade capture multiple times from the police and eventually piece together the mystery behind Heather’s murder.

However, after employing a delightful and slow build up of suspense, the film suddenly races forward and pushes Jill into a resolution that ends up leaving viewers confused, wondering how they got lost after an almost leisurely motorcycle chase sequence up to the hills outside Los Angeles. The audience is tossed around one conclusion to the next, unable to understand what they are seeing until the moment has already passed.

Despite this, the film looks decidedly stunning. DP Andrew Reed’s style is economical and precise, capturing all the shots necessary in a grounded but beautiful approach. It leaves viewers in awe in the way the frame is composed; there aren’t any flashy movements because there really aren’t any needed.

Katz noted that Gemini strove to take a deeper, more intimate look into the lives of Hollywood stars, and the film does just that. Kirke, in a tale of mystery combined with a realistic and grounded vision, is riveting to watch, and the rest of the performances add a great many layers to her performance. For Katz, Gemini definitely feels like his next big step, and a sign that he has much more to show in the future as an artist and filmmaker.

We screened the film at 2017 BamCinemaFest.

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