A heinous crime tests the complex relationship between a tenacious personal assistant and her Hollywood starlet boss. As the assistant travels across Los Angeles to unravel the mystery, she must stay one step ahead of a determined policeman and confront her own understanding of friendship, truth and celebrity.
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★★★½ review by Patrick Devitt on Letterboxd
A fascinating trajectory in cinema throughout the last decade has been experiencing the graduation of mumblecore filmmakers voyaging into the more financed realms that their medium has to offer. While some directors have chosen to remain with the comforting boundaries of their work, director Aaron Katz certainly steps away from his habitual range with his latest endeavor, Gemini. Pairing a heavily Raymond Chandler-influenced noirish narrative with the dialectical precision of Lola Kirke, there's an authentic feeling of innovation for the all too familiar genre.
Kirke's first foray outside of comedy is a genuine phenomenon to witness. Her rise to indie stardom in 2015's ever so charming Mistress America exhibited a vast understanding of the actress' command over the English language. Noah Baumbach continuously draws out the rigidity that he demands from his ensemble in order to capture his characters' specific patois. The sophisticated control that is she brings to her performance there fully transfers over into the idiosyncratic role Lola Kirke dominates in Gemini. Conquering the subdued nature as the assistant to a paparazzi-engulfed star (Zoë Kravitz), the fastidious screenplay (also penned by Katz) allows for her to truly shine as the character is forced to cope with an unforeseen tragedy.
The abundance of new releases evoking a distinctive neon hue more often than not overshadows the central focus of the film. Katz collaborates for the fourth time with cinematographer Andrew Reed to elicit rich textural imagery of the Los Angeles-set terrain that Gemini occupates. Reed's conscientious eye behind the camera manages to find a sense of equilibrium between the luminous nightlife and the residential neighborhoods of the city. There is never an overpowering force within the photography to draw the viewer away from its key focus: Kirke's Jill LeBeau.
Despite the sharp literary influence of Gemini, Katz makes an unusual choice to use Jill as the spotlight for his attention. The formal tropes within the "whodunit" subgenre are put aside as a Shakespearian analysis of dynamic character is untangled. It's an almost unthinkable decision to use noir undertones as a backdrop for what's purely a character study, but Aaron Katz has crafted such a delicate tale of allure that he somehow manages to pull it all off with ease.
★★★★ review by Felix Hubble: Boy Donkey on Letterboxd
Near-perfect, neon-drenched, L.A. noir throwback flick (without the cheese). Aesthetically brilliant, strong narrative, tight performances and a killer soundtrack, basically the whole package.
Keep an eye out for this on the festival circuit, it's great.
★★★½ review by Kenji Fujishima on Letterboxd
I included Aaron Katz's latest in this round-up of the opening weekend of this year's BAMcinemaFest for Brooklyn Magazine. Not included in that capsule: a shout-out to cinematographer Andrew Reed, who does some beautiful work here.
★★★★½ review by Jason Bailey on Letterboxd
Aaron Katz, best known for low-key efforts like 'Quiet City' and 'Land Ho!', writes and directs this crisp little sun-and-neon-soaked neo-noir, using its deceptively relaxing palm-trees-at-night aesthetic to set up an atmosphere thick with dread, and push it until a murder almost seems inevitable. It’s the reliable story of the natural suspect (Lola Kirke), accused of murder, who has to investigate the crime herself to prove her innocence. The amateur investigation hits all the right notes (disguises, tailing, snooping through a room on a clock, etc.), but it’s no mere genre exercise. Kirke is a good audience surrogate (likable and sympathetic, smart but not brilliant), and Katz uses her to give this murder mystery a helpful human anchor.
★★★★ review by Gardy on Letterboxd
Un Mulholland Drive in chiave millennials postato su Instagram con il filtro Olivier Assayas: è bellissimo!!
Tu vai a capire perché ogni 10 o 20 anni qualcuno sente il bisogno di girare un noir della Madonna ambientato nel mondo dello stardom di LA, con una soundtrack strepitosa, giovani interpreti avvenenti e dannatamente brave, palette cromatiche leccatissime e un sottotesto lesbo grande così. Se vi capita, recuperatelo assolutamente. Io ci sono entrata per Zoë Kravitz e sono uscita innamorata di Lola Kirke.
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