Kimi Is A Stylish Paranoid Thriller Directed By Steven Soderbergh That Sneaks Up On You!
Director Steven Soderbergh’s Kimi is a Hitchcockian thriller about an agoraphobic data analyst who observes a murder. It’s like Rear Window meets North by Northwest, but for the post-truth world.
Angela Childs, played by Zoe Kravitz, is an employee of the enigmatic Amygdala business. Her job entails listening to recordings of user interactions with Kimi, a Siri-like AI personal assistant, and identifying system flaws that need to be fixed. So, if a user requests a certain Taylor Swift song and Kimi is unable to understand the request, it is Angela’s responsibility to retool the code so that Kimi can correctly identify the music.
She lives alone in a stunning Seattle studio apartment in what seems to be the current day, implying that she has experienced at least two Covid-induced lockdowns. They’ve also had an impact on her mental health. Angela mainly keeps to herself, although she isn’t beyond flirting with a prosecutor across the street, Terry, with whom she has started a casual love connection.
Angela scolds Terry for not requesting to be buzzed into her building before one of their casual hook-ups, in some beautifully done character work. And when they’re done, Angela immediately changes the bedding, while Terry remains in the room, wondering aloud if she’d be interested in going out on a real date. She was not going to do it. Angela encourages the upset Terry to leave quickly, citing a backlog of work as an excuse to avoid contact.
Kimi is a gripping 90-minute paranoid thriller directed by Soderbergh in his characteristic manner, which is both unfussy and flamboyant. It wonderfully conveys the unexpected intensity of epidemic life. Soderbergh films Angela’s outdoor escapades almost entirely in handheld Dutch angles, his jittery digital camera mirroring Angela’s inner nervousness.
Kimi, a slickly crafted, crisply paced, and minimalist to the point of being an experimental picture, completes Soderbergh’s hattrick of award-winning films for HBO Max in the previous three years. And each of them has managed to fly beneath the radar.