A thriller about Hollywood stylishly photographed.
Director: Aaron Katz (Land Ho!)
Cast: Lola Kirke (Gone Girl), Zoe Kravitz (Mad Max: Fury Road)
Runtime: 1 hr 33 min
by John DeSando
“Hollywood is a place where they'll pay you a thousand dollars for a kiss and fifty cents for your soul.” Marilyn Monroe
Gemini is cinematographer Andrew Reed’s film, from the glamorous long shots of LA at night, the hideaway bars in the seedy sides, to the dazzlingly modern flats. Any weaknesses in the film itself are swamped by the visual grandeur. It’s neo noir in muted neon and low-key suspense.
Movie star Heather (Zoe Kravitz) has charmed everyone who attends to her, even her not-rabidly devoted PA, Jill (Lola Kirke).Trouble brews when Heather bows out of a starring role and compromises several interested parties. After introducing a gun, director Aaron Katz has nowhere else to go according to convention other than to have the weapon return with its bloody purpose.
The thriller part is set, now, to be augmented by recurring motifs of friendship and loyalty, and something of a gay immediacy, lesbian to be precise. While the principals and their pals flirt with possibilities, the film is noir, after all, and requires detective work to flesh out the murderer with the attendant bad guys and girls and bleak setting.
The surprisingly low-key denouement with no appreciable thematic commentary leaves the mystery solved but weightless in human terms. Even a gloss of the industry’s shallow hucksterism and uncontrollable ambitions would have been appreciated.
In the end, loyalty is the trump card that will propel the actors into another film with the same challenges and disappointments. Hollywood lives one despite intrigues and occasional murders. Thrillers about the biz will never die, and they will continue to draw us in given our fascination with tinsel town’s ersatz loyalty. It’s the only royalty we really have anymore.
John DeSando, a Los Angeles Press Club first-place winner for National Entertainment Journalism, hosts WCBE’s It’s Movie Time and co-hosts Cinema Classics. Contact him at JDeSando@Columbus.rr.com