Review: Kimi

Kimi is a 2022 American film directed by Steven Soderbergh and written/produced by David Koepp. It tells the tale of Angela Childs (played by Zoe Kravitz), an agoraphobic, anxious young female tech employee, who comes across evidence of criminal activity while performing her work duties at home during the Covid-19 pandemic. It is a straight forward thriller released on HBO Max streaming service to mostly positive critical and audience reception. After viewing this movie, I fully understand why people and critics enjoyed it, but also why it seems to have disappeared from public consciousness and discourse so quickly.

At its core, Kimi is a solid film. It has a good story, an excellent cast, just enough intrigue to keep audiences entertained, great use of music and sound, manages to work within the confines of budget and filming during an ongoing global crisis, and all in roughly 90 minutes. Honestly, that alone is one of the biggest selling points: a film that tells a genuinely good and well executed story in well under two hours. Unfortunately, in the current market, this equation makes for a good streaming or VOD film, but does not translate to longevity or extended interest.

Zoe Kravitz is a very striking woman. It is both a boon and burden for her career.

Everything in the film works. Nothing is simply memorable or noteworthy. The plot is pretty standard for this genre. The “mystery” or “twist” in the film is barely present and more of a plot device than grand mystery. The characters, with the exception of Anglea, are fairly underdeveloped and really only act as either obstacles or aids to Angela’s story and development. There is no element in the film that is bad or off, but, similarly, there is nothing that really stands out or is intended to engage the audience in some deeper manner or method. It is very much a film made to be part of a service. Enough factors to catch interest, but not really anything that will keep it in the minds of the viewers. Kimi is a popcorn flick for the home viewing experience. You’ll enjoy it while watching, but probably won’t remember much after an hour or two.

The biggest selling point is also oddly one of its few deficiencies: Zoe Kravitz as the lead. Now, put your pitchforks down. I am not criticizing Ms. Kravitz’s talents, or at least not in the manner you may be thinking. Zoe Kravitz is a stunning woman. I think that is not up for debate. She also happens to be a talented actress and possesses decent musical chops as well. This is unsurprising considering her lineage and upbringing. However, at least for me, Kravitz has never lost herself in a role. She is a talented actress; that is undeniable. Yet, there has never been a role or character I have seen her in where it was not apparent that I was seeing Zoe Kravitz playing a character. The dialogue was well spoken. Emotions were most definitely conveyed. And I believed the despair and anger and cunning Kravitz displayed in her role as Angela, but I never bought in that she was Angela. It seems like an odd point to pick at, and I agree. This trait did not make the movie bad or detract from its quality. And I doubt that if Kravitz was less engaging and noteworthy, her performance would be better. It simply appears that she does best, as far as serving the production, when she is part of a strong ensemble as seen in High Fidelity and The Batman than being, essentially, the sole presence in a film or television show.

All in all, Kimi is an entertaining film that I recommend watching assuming you already have an HBOMax account. Will you regret watching this film? No. Should you go out of your way to seek it out? Not really. Will you remember and discuss this movie at length afterwards? Probably not, but if you have 90 minutes to kill and want to watch an engaging flick, this one more than fits that criteria.

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