GEMINI [London Film Festival]

PrintE-mail Written by Peter Turner

It can be a tough life for these young and wealthy, beautiful and successful Hollywood stars. While earning in a year more than most will make in a lifetime, they’ve unfortunately also got to deal with the flipside of fame. Following Kim Kardashian's scary ordeal with jewellery robbers in 2016, Gemini is a timely crime thriller that shows what happens when social media lures the wrong kind of attention. 

Jill (Lola Kirke) is personal assistant and best friend to Hollywood star Heather (Zoe Kravitz). But when the bisexual Heather breaks up with her boyfriend, drops out of a movie role, and snaps a selfie with an obsessed fan, she angers a lot of people around L.A. The increasingly paranoid Heather asks Jill if she can borrow Jill's gun, but when the gun becomes a murder weapon, Jill becomes suspect number one. Only she can clear her name by playing detective and finding the real murderer.

The early scenes of Gemini set up a sweet female friendship between the spoiled star and her capable assistant. There are hints at romance; the friends being comfortable, silly and open with each other as they navigate their way around angered directors, nosy paparazzi and intrusive fans. When Jill becomes a suspect in the murder, she is targeted by straight-talking detective Edward Ahn (John Cho) and disguises herself so she can work her own way around the suspects she believes may really be responsible. 

Starting with the director (Nelson Franklin) whose film Heather has just shunned, Jill is tenacious in her investigation. Earlier name checking Scream, Gemini has some wonderfully Meta scenes, particularly when the writer/director suspect gives Jill his take on who the suspects are and what their motives would be if they were in his movie. Where Gemini falls down is in it’s over reliance on Jill overhearing important clue-filled conversations (not once, but twice) and generally failing to ramp up the sense of danger as Jill looks for answers. 

But Gemini is a an alluring love letter to L.A. and its neon-drenched night time locations make for an engaging first hour. The lights of the city dazzle as Jill goes from karaoke bar to luxury cabin to modernist glasshouse. It often looks and sounds like Michael Mann on a budget. While its crime elements neither fully convince nor truly thrill, the dialogue often sparkles with wit and Lola Kirke is a formidable lead balancing the odd laughs with the more dramatic moments. With solid support from Kravitz and Cho, Kirke carries the movie except when Nelson Franklin in his pair of standout scenes cheekily steals it. 

Unfortunately, Gemini wraps up with a bland, unsatisfying end to its mystery. Suspense never tips over into real excitement and though it looks and sounds great, it’s a film that won’t stay with you much longer than a celebrity’s latest Snapchat video. 

GEMINI / CERT: 15 / DIRECTOR & SCREENPLAY: AARON KATZ / STARRING: LOLA KIRKE, ZOE KRAVITZ, GRETA LEE, JOHN CHO, NELSON FRANKLIN / RELEASE DATE: UK RELEASE DATE TBA



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