AFI Review: Gemini
Gemini could be a considered a slow-burn whodunit or just a sleek love letter to Los Angeles. Written and directed by indie darling, Aaron Katz the film tells the story of what looks like to be a murder of a famous actress Heather Anderson played by Zoe Kravitz.
We follow Heather's assistant, Jill (played by Lola Kirke), as she discovers her boss's body and unfortunately becomes the prime suspect in the murder. But Heather and Jill weren't just boss and employee, they were close friends, one could even say best. The evening before the murder, Jill crashes at Heather's house. Heather is too scared to sleep in her bed by herself, primarily because almost everyone but Jill she sees as a threat. Heather has a crazy super fan, a stalker paparazzi who follows them home, a filmmaker who hates her because she dropped his project, and a crazy ex-boyfriend who calls and threatens to kill her. The night before, Jill, Heather, and Heather's new girlfriend Tracy go to karaoke and have fun. Heather tries to distract herself from the stress of her life but really can't seem to escape the fear. She asks Jill if she could borrow her gun just for protection and Jill takes a while but eventually lets her have it. So while Jill is surprised to find Heather's body the next day it is not completely surprising for the audience.
The murder mystery isn't as easily solved though. With Detective Edward Ahn (played by John Cho) on her back, Jill decides to attempt to solve the case herself. There are many twists and turns throughout the film which basically takes place in one whole day – the day of finding the body. Jill goes all throughout Los Angeles from a diner in the valley to dying her hair to hide from the cops in Koreatown. While the pacing and the music is slow, the audience can't help but be curious the entire time. Each time a suspect is “definitely the murderer” a new clue pops up and pushes Jill in a different direction, towards another suspect.
The acting in the film is great, you never feel out of the film. Kravitz plays a believable stressed out ingenue, who knows maybe she is in real life. Kirke plays Jill perfectly, you're rooting for her the entire time and never doubt her innocence. The film as a whole can have a quicker pace but the slow burn isn't too bad. It is a very pretty film, Katz's great at stylizing the film and highlighting the beauty of Los Angeles from the palm tree silhouettes at night to the neon lights of Koreatown karaoke.
Overall, the film holds the audiences's attention and keeps you guessing up until the end, but this could hinder the film a little. So much guessing and questioning eventually leaves the audience guessing at the end “is this the real ending or are the characters still hiding the truth from us?” guess we will never know.