February 10, 2022

GENRE | Digital Anxieties – Zoë Kravitz Commands 'Kimi'

Zoë Kravitz Steven Soderbergh | Kimi Crave HBO Max
New Line Cinema
Prolific and versatile auteur Steven Soderbergh directs another lean yet satisfying genre exercise starring Zoë Kravitz as a blue-haired, agoraphobic tech analyst in the lo-fi paranoid surveillance thriller Kimi. There's a classical Hitchcockian approach (think Rear Window meets Run Lola Run for the digital age) to its timely subject matter.

Set during the pandemic in Seattle, the film is titled after a new Alexa or Echo-type virtual assistant device created by the Amygdala Corporation whom Kravitz's Angela Childs is employed by. She hasn't left her spacious downtown loft since the beginning of the lockdown, nor has she really needed to. It's interesting how Soderbergh uses advanced technology to enable his protagonist's anxieties and severe PTSD. She stumbles upon criminal aspects including evidence of a violent murder that implicates her company but is obstructed when trying to alert them.

Scripted by Hollywood veteran David Koepp, Kimi proves an efficient yet subdued ninety-minute thrill ride full of smart twists on its genre plays. Soderbergh channels his camera movements to pan through its alley/courtyard view—Kimi spends its first half entirely in Angela's apartment—made more visually intriguing through its setting's large windows and open design while also mirroring her lack of privacy both online and in real-life.

Slickly produced, Kimi's genre elements heighten the contemporary sense of virtual dread where the suspense comes from how open and accessible our lives are as we voluntarily cede our personal data to faceless and untrustworthy tech conglomerates. Soderbergh's effortless style grooves the film into a tight but quick genre thrill ride.

Kimi is available to stream on Crave in Canada (and on HBO Max in the U.S.).

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