Directed by Steven Soderbergh — Screenplay by David Koepp.
Steven Soderbergh’s Kimi takes place around the time of the COVID-19 pandemic, at which point our protagonist (Angela Childs, played by Zoë Kravitz), an agoraphobic tech worker, is struggling to even set foot outside of her apartment door. However, while reviewing the data stream of the titular virtual assistant Kimi (a la Alexa or Siri), Angela discovers evidence of what may have been a violent crime. But to get the evidence to the proper authorities she realizes that she will have to go outside. What she doesn’t know is that by reporting the recording to her company’s higher-ups she has effectively put a target on her back.
In recent years, Steven Soderbergh has made some interesting films and, indeed, decisions regarding his films. He came out of retirement to make the outrageously funny NASCAR heist film Logan Lucky, turned to the iPhone to make both Unsane and High Flying Bird, and then returned to traditional filmmaking to make films like last year’s solid period crime thriller No Sudden Move. Although it wasn’t shot on an iPhone, there is a little bit of Unsane in Kimi, his latest thriller which I really adored.
From the writer of Panic Room, Kimi is a taut techno-thriller about the complicated nature of modern surveillance (in more ways than one) as a double-edged sword. Steven Soderbergh’s latest film brings films such as Alfred Hitchcock’s Rear Window and Brian De Palma’s Blow Out to mind, and his straight-to-HBO-Max feature film is not a minute too long.
Although it is true that there have been many films like Rear Window in the past, this is one of the best films like it in years, in large part due to the extremely modern twist on the premise and Soderbergh’s filmmaking. It really does capture the anxiety of the film’s main character very well. When she is outside you hear these loud sharp noises, we have disorientating handheld shots, low angle shots, and dutch tilt shots.
I also thought that Zoë Kravitz, who sports blue hair and a bob haircut for most of the film, was quite good, and it is arguably her best leading performance yet. Some of the film’s most engaging scenes include the sequence in which she runs into a public protest, as well as the wildly entertaining sequence towards the end of the film that is paired with Beastie Boys’ “Sabotage,” in which the film, which had mostly been wary of technology and user agreements up until that point, takes a great amount of glee in using modern technology to its main character’s advantage.
One of my favorite Steven Soderbergh films in recent years, Kimi is a very entertaining modern techno-thriller with a lot of energy. It is also arguably the best film set in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic that has come out thus far. It is certainly inspired by many other films, some of which are better, but I highly recommend this modern update.
8.5 out of 10
– Review Written by Jeffrey Rex Bertelsen.