3 (out of 4)
Writer-director Aaron Katz returns to the realm of murder, mystery and movie-isms – not unlike his nifty 2010 neo-noir Cold Weather – under the florescence of LA in Gemini. After premiering at South by Southwest in March of 2017, Neon distributes this elegantly glib thriller over a year later.
Katz can do plenty with next to nothing as shown by his inventive, prodigy-film-student intuition and adept screenwriting, but with Gemini he really shows his sharp eye for atmospherics and his attuned ear for show-stopping soundtracks. Composer Keegan DeWitt's hyper-modern score is primed with chopped vocals and trap beats, coalescing in a vaporwave vibe that heightens the film's neon-drenched ambiance and keeps Katz' slight but ever so intriguing plot unfolding nicely.
Lola Kirke – who had recently enough shown unlimited potential as Tracy in Mistress America – is a wonder to watch as Jill, assistant to the popular actress Heather Anderson (Zoe Kravitz). In what seems like a supporting role at first, Kirke becomes our lead when Heather appears to be murdered and Jill is the primary suspect – John Cho also stars as the detective on the case.
With its well-devised gotcha twist, Gemini's slender narrative is more than worthy of the film's lush aesthetics, serene locales and respectable acting repertoire. Still, Katz' directorial arc seems to be on the brink of more significant, ambitious works to come. Working through clichés in order to revive them, Gemini furthers Katz as a natural and studied filmmaker with a knack for well-timed humor, sparingly conjured suspense and plausible yet engrossing mystery elements.
To keep it brief...