Gemini makes the most of its low budget and largely unknown cast thanks to its Los Angeles setting and neo-noir storyline. This is Aaron Katz’s fifth feature and it deserves to be the film that breaks him out of the film festival ghetto his work has largely circulated in.
Lola Kirk is Jill, the wise, long suffering assistant to Zoe Kravitz’ Heather Anderson, a young star whose mercurial temperament makes the life of her agent, lawyers and directors hell. She needs some “Me” time with her secret girlfriend, Tracy, played by Greta Lee and has turned down a juicy film role. Something goes horribly wrong during this critical moment and Jill finds Heather gunned down in her cooler than thou Riad-style house in the Hollywood hills. Jill is now the prime suspect of the investigating detective, portrayed with urbane calm by John Cho.
Katz deftly shifts gears from what begins as a film about how to be friends with your nutty boss into a quietly told thriller with a hard-boiled cynicism reminiscent of The Long Goodbye, Night Moves and other 70s classics. Working with a near all female cast, Katz not only spins a gripping yarn about life in the city of angels, but examines the sexism of an industry where actresses have a finite earning power based on their good looks and how reductive notions of “straight”, “gay” and “bi” dominate the tabloid press.
Gemini is powered by Katz’ sly pacing and a cast that turns familiar archetypes into messy human beings. These showbiz types may be adept at posing for the world at large, but they are soon revealed to be as scared, desperate and lonely as their needy fans. As a thriller and meditation on the emptiness of celebrity life, Gemini confidently rises above genre.
Dir-Scr Aaron Katz
Prod Mynette Louie, Sara Murphy, Adele Romanski
Stars Lola Kirke, Zoë Kravitz, John Cho