Movie Review: Kimi

There have been a number of remakes of Hitchcock’s undying classic Rear Window in recent years, speaking to the lack of fresh ideas floating around Hollywood, budgetary constraints and master filmmaker’s lasting influence. Coming in the wake of the pandemic, Kimi is one of the more timely efforts, using the concept of an apartment-based crime drama thriller as more of a launchpad.

Settling into the isolated world of an agoraphobic young woman named Angela Childs, her self-imposed lockdown is jeopardised when she picks up and deciphers some audio on Siri-type platform, Kimi, which points to some form of domestic abuse. Branching out, she’s compelled to leave her nest on a mission to report the data stream incident to her company and see justice served.

Directed by Steven Soderbergh and starring ZoĆ« Kravitz, the resourceful filmmaker creates a strong platform and comfortable bubble for his lead to flex her acting abilities. Kravitz’s intrepid yet vulnerable performance keeps a curious tension as her naturally self-centred existence is compelled on an other-centred quest. While she’s supported by the likes of Rita Wilson, the rest of the ensemble are mostly devices rather than full-fledged characters, as echoed by so-so performances.

kimi movie

“What’s my favourite colour? Guess.”

Soderbergh is a prolific pioneer of a filmmaker, having shot the feature film Unsane on an iPhone, he’s not afraid to play – even taking a splash with the critically-acclaimed TV movie Behind the Candelabra. While Kimi starts off with a hokey feel, centred around the spunky stay-at-home tech worker, Soderbergh adds layers through a slow build of sound and visuals that gradually escalates as the adventure takes to the streets of Seattle.

Touching on privacy, alienation, loneliness and our overreliance on digital, this intriguing and spirited little thriller leans on some timely and thought-provoking themes without becoming preachy. While familiar, it’s more geared towards entertainment, lacing these themes in to give Kimi’s world a reflective sci-fi edge. A smart idea for a modest budget thriller, Kimi plays to its strengths, largely carried by the verve of Kravitz, immersing itself in our insulated culture of self-sufficiency and safely guided home by Soderbergh’s assured direction.

The bottom line: Intriguing

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