Everybody loves a good celebrity murder mystery and GEMINI puts an L.A. spin to it with a noir-esque storyline misted with a dream-like haze. Written and directed by Aaron Katz (Land Ho!), the film starts off strong and with style, giving eerie vibes throughout. But as the film rolls along, the story loosens its grasp on the audience and makes for an ending that is simply satisfying rather than shocking.
Lola Kirke stars as Jill, the personal assistant and friend to big-time celebrity Heather Anderson (Zoe Kravitz). After a night of karaoke and run-of-the-mill L.A. shenanigans. the two end up crashing at Heather’s mansion. The next morning, Jill leaves the house only to come back to find Heather with a bullet in the head. When Detective Edward Ahn (John Cho) arrives on the scene, he suspects that Jill may be the murderer considering her gun (which she was letting Heather borrow for protection) was found on the scene with only her prints all over it.
Wanting to prove her innocence, Jill does some sleuthing of her own as she goes around the city trying to find out who the real murderer is. As more clues pop up, she comes closer to the truth about their friendship, the meaning of “celebrity,” and what really happened to Heather.
There’s a graceful suspense that Katz executes in Gemini that makes it pleasing, yet thrilling to experience. As we go with Jill on this Veronica Mars journey, we get more and more invested as she meets possible killers along the way (with Nelson Franklin giving a stand-out performance as a jerk of a movie director). But as the pieces of the puzzle come together, we are expected to clutch our pearls and gasp at the big reveal of the story. Although there is an unexpected twist, it isn’t a big enough pay-off for the build-up.
Kirke floats through her role in this film and really feels (and looks) like a personal assistant, while Kravitz is effortless with both her beauty and conflicted sense of “celebrity” in the role as Heather. Then again, it couldn’t have been THAT difficult for her to play a young starlet who is constantly being hounded by the paparazzi. I’m sure she had plenty of practice. The use of Cho as a detective seemed like a thankless role that was just there because he needed to be in a story like this — which is very unfortunate considering Cho’s talent.
At first, Gemini provides what feels like an exciting, different take on a neo-noir celebrity murder mystery. There’s a sleekness to the storytelling, but the sheen begins to fade as it unravels. It has all the necessary textbook elements required of the genre and feels like it was on the precipice of taking more storytelling risk to make it to another level. Instead, it settles for keeping it the right amount of risky with enough story, twists, and L.A. panache to keep us adequately intrigued.
Not yet rated
Running time: 92 minutes
Dino watches too much TV, enjoys reality singing competitions and laughs inappropriately during dramatic films. He’s a fan of comedy, podcasts, and comedy podcasts. He’s a reformed comic book geek and thinks “The Goonies” is the best movie of all time. When he isn’t stuffing his face with a burrito, he’s thinking about his next trip to Disneyland.
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Dino-Ray Ramos | Staff Writer