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Gemini – Review (London Film Festival)

Gemini Review (London Film Festival)

In this neon Hollywood whodunit, a terrific first act mystery setup flies straight to a tidy conclusion that doesn’t deliver on its emotional promise.

Starring: Lola Kirke, Zoë Kravitz, John Cho
Director: Aaron Katz

A personal assistant (Kirke, Gone Girl) and her Hollywood starlet boss (Kravitz, X-Men: First Class) have a co-dependent relationship, and are spending the evening controversially backing out of a movie project. The director is livid, while a spiteful paparazzo is hounding them, a superfan needs more access, and a dumped boyfriend will have to make way for a new female lover. It’s no surprise that the star is found shot dead the next morning, with the gun she borrowed from her PA. But who did it? And her bereaved assistant will have to stay ahead of a detective (Cho, Star Trek) who’s increasingly convinced she’s responsible…

Neo-noir thriller Gemini has a beautiful soundtrack and confident direction that creates a terrific, if sometimes inconsistent, mood. The first act is one of the best I’ve seen in a thriller, as the star and her assistant enjoy each other’s company while dotting around Hollywood, encountering future suspects with an axe to grind. Their nuanced relationship and warm connection feels completely real, with natural dialogue and great acting, not least from Kravitz who shines. The knowledge that she’ll soon be dead is affecting and promises a rare emotional impact to finding ‘a body’.

But immediately after the murder the assistant is curiously unaffected by it, the teary beach scene that follows doesn’t have the power it ought to, and soon after she’s in quirky sleuthing mode ala Courtney Cox in Scream. Everything was beautifully positioned for a weaving noir tale that brought characters in and out with turns and betrayal, but actually she just has a quick chat with each suspect once, there’s a twist, and it’s all wrapped up. She should have had her heart dragged through the mud and been driven by a sense of grief for her lost friend, but instead it feels more like a quest to save her own hide and solve a puzzle.

That’s not to say that things don’t tie up in a logical way, and it totally remains a crafted and entertaining film worth seeing, but sometimes neatness and success can feel anticlimactic.

Grade: B

Gemini doesn’t have a release date yet for the US or UK. But expect it in the coming months.

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