Mystery and Intrigue take centre stage in Aaron Katz’s beautifully crafted and hugely enjoyable comedic neo-noir feature Gemini. This clever crime caper has more twists and turns than any hard-boiled detective story worth its salt, and more suspense than your average thriller. Staring Zoe Kravitz as a capricious young starlet, and Lola Kirke as her trusted assistant, the film is first and foremost a love letter to LA as a city full of broken dreams and sun-drenched white buildings for as far as the eye can see. Taking a leaf out of Olivier Assayas (Cloud of Sils Maria, Personal Shopper), Katz manages to immerse his audience into this wonderful world of fame, fortune, and excesses without ever taking himself or his story too seriously.

Jill (Lola Kirke) has spent years looking after, and pandering to the whims of Heather Anderson (Zoe Karvitz), a talented young actress who is as unreliable as she is likeable. After her recent acrimonious break up from boyfriend Devin (Reeve Carney), Heather has grown disillusioned with the LA lifestyle and decides to bail on a series of projects days before they’re set to start. Unable to face up to her own actions, the actress ropes-in long suffering Jill to inform all those involved, including director Greg (Nelson Franklin) who, to put it mildly, is none too pleased.

In the midst of it all, Heather is being hounded by sleazy paparazzo Stan (James Ransone) who hopes to out her relationship with new girlfriend Tracy (Greta Lee). Feeling unsafe, Heather asks Jill if she can borrow a gun the assistant has been hiding at her home for emergencies. The next day, disaster strikes and Jill becomes the number one suspect in a murder case and must do all she can to prove her innocence.

Katz manages to convey mystery and intrigue coupled with subtle satire to tell a genuinely thrilling story. When the brilliant John Cho shows up in the second act as   investigative homicide cop Edward Ahn, there is very little doubt as to where the story is heading. With a deadpan delivery and a knowing smile, detective Ahn flirts with Jill and seems to always be one step ahead of her.

Kirke and Kravitz put in two beautifully nuanced performances, Kirke eventually playing it for the laughs when her character goes on the run disguised as your average blonde valley girl. Nelson Franklin as movie director Greg raises the most laughs with some brilliantly delivered lines, making you wish he’d been on screen more often.

With more than a hint of unrequited love from Jill towards her nonchalant boss, Katz touches upon the gender fluidity of his characters without ever making it into too much of a thing. Bringing a fresh twist to a tried and tested genre, Gemini could be considered as a fully-fledged feminist crime caper. Its female protagonists are mostly motivated by one another, leaving their male counterparts trying to second-guess them and mostly failing.

Trusting the validity of his female characters as they are, Aaron Katz who writes as well as directs, is unafraid of pushing the boundaries of what is expected of him. With his ability to convey the beauty of LA by day and night, Katz allows his characters to become part of the city’s own folklore, further cementing in our minds the idea of LA as a place no-one can ever really leave, no matter how hard they try.

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Linda Marric is a senior film critic and the newly appointed Reviews Editor for HeyUGuys. She has written extensively about film and TV over the last decade. After graduating with a degree in Film Studies from King's College London, she has worked in post-production on a number of film projects and other film related roles. She has a huge passion for intelligent Scifi movies and is never put off by the prospect of a romantic comedy. Favourite movie: Brazil.
gemini-reviewTrusting the validity of his female characters as they are, Aaron Katz who writes as well as directs, is unafraid of pushing the boundaries of what is expected of him.