Critic Consensus: A kaleidoscopic neo-noir, Gemini is a visually striking murder mystery with a convoluted but largely compelling plot and an impressive showing from Lola Kirke.
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as Jill LeBeau
as Heather Anderson
as Detective Edward Ahn
as Teenage Waiter
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Critic Reviews for Gemini
Gemini feels like the first draft of a movie that could have been developed into something more resonant.
Kirke, so wonderful in "Mistress America," and Cho, of the underappreciated "Columbus," are endlessly fascinating to watch, but the gossamer-thin material underserves them.
[Kirke] possesses an endearing, thoroughly non-actressy quality. She feels completely real and unrehearsed, like she's saying the lines for the first time.
It is among the emptiest movies I've ever seen, beginning with a production design filled with sets in roomy designer houses with no personality whatsoever (and that's probably the point).
Audience Reviews for Gemini
BASICALLY, IT STINKS - My Review of GEMINI (2 Stars) When I saw the trailer for the new film, GEMINI, it came across like a lurid 90s-style thriller in the same vein as BASIC INSTINCT. It didn't draw me in, but when I noticed a high rating on ROTTEN TOMATOES, I couldn't resist. Then I saw it, and yep, it's a lurid 90's-style thriller but without its predecessor's delicious blend of over-the-top carnality and real thrills. Yes, it's stylish as hell and has some interesting things to say about Hollywood, the closet, and what friendship means to self-absorbed narcissists, but people behave so stupidly in this poorly thought-out story, that I had a hard time taking any of it seriously. Written and directed by Aaron Katz, the film stars Zoe Kravitz (BIG LITTLE LIES) as Heather, a famous movie star who, as the film opens, asks her assistant Jill (Lola Kirke of MOZART IN THE JUNGLE) to do the dirty work of entering a café and telling the director on her latest project (VEEP and BLACKISH actor Nelson Franklin doing solid work here) that she's pulling out of it. Shot beautifully by cinematographer Andrew Reed, the opening images alone, of upside down palm trees, nicely sets the stage for its skewed vision of a soul-dead Los Angeles. Moreover, the first act does a truly terrific job of setting up the relationship dynamics between the two. Kravitz nails her sweet, lonely, needy character who knows exactly how to get what she wants, while Kirke's assistant has the sturdy presence of someone highly organized yet who still lives frugally. The film does well by showing their two different environments so that it makes sense when Jill prefers sleeping on Heather's couch than in her own bed, as it allows her to temporarily live the luxurious life. All in all, it's a good setup, filled with a lot of people being pissed off by Heather or outright stalking her. [MILD SPOILER ALERT] Of course, we wouldn't have a thriller if somebody didn't end up dead, so it's no big surprise when Jill finds Heather shot to death one morning. As the owner of the gun that killed her, Jill naturally comes under suspicion by Homicide Detective Edward Ahn (a wasted and bored looking John Cho). Instead of cooperating, however, Jill makes one bone-headed decision after another. This includes wearing a terrible blonde wig and sunglasses that are 10 steps inferior to the Bobbi character in DRESSED TO KILL. She also has a stupid habit of entering rooms alone in which she doesn't belong. Hasn't she seen EVERY THRILLER EVER MAD??!!! [END MILD SPOILER] After the inciting incident, which seems to come really late into the film, the story becomes preposterous. Our protagonist doesn't allow the police to do their job, and inexplicably takes it upon herself to play Nancy Drew, albeit with the worst disguise I've ever seen. It's shot really well, but motivations and reveals remain hazy throughout. I know this movie has something to say, but the thriller elements don't deliver, and its message gets muddled by characters who don't seem to think anything through. It needs more pulp, but opts to meander and duff its ending. It's a shame, because I like these actors. James Ransone, Greta Lee and Reeve Carney add just the right amount of LA sleaze factor to the whole affair, but it all feels Michelle Forbes and Ricki Lake make too-quick cameos that have zero impact, and as much as I liked Franklin's turn as the abandoned director, he has a ridiculous monologue in which he lays out all of the suspects for us. I would have rather played CLUE.
My very last MIFF screening was something I very much was curious about but never held in high regard especially compared to the various other films I saw. In a way, 'Gemini' is a film that's just 'fine', nothing too special, but well, made, written, acted, directed, edited, casted, etc, etc. Even whilst being a sort of drama set within Hollywood as a murder mystery meets a slight sprinkle of a crime thriller, it doesn't offer much else than what it's offering story-wise. Part of me wanted to like if not admire this film in the high standards it set out to do, but the overall execution which in itself is slow moving in the middle act and in the conclusion feels predictable, but I can't due to those certain flaws alone it paled in comparison to film's I saw it do better. While not overall disappointing, I think it's worth watching for it's passable quality alone. Not enough to attract a huge fan-base though recommendable to be worth it when nothing else it on or could be found on certain streaming services.
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