One of the reasons I went to see the independent film Gemini was that it starred Lola Kirke. I was familiar with her acting as she plays Hailey Rutledge on the Amazon series Mozart in the Jungle. The series ran four seasons, and was not renewed for a fifth, which is a shame as it was one of the best shows on streaming I have seen in a long time. No violence, and an interesting story about a conductor and his symphony in New York City. If you haven’t seen it, you should. I appreciated Lola’s talents, and wanted to see how she’d do carrying a full-length film, a mystery/thriller so different from her role in Mozart in the Jungle. Gemini is rated R for pervasive language, and a violent image.
Jill LeBeau (Lola Kirke) is the personal assistant of celebrity Heather Anderson (Zoë Kravitz). Heather is burned out by everything in her life: her work, her fans, Los Angeles, and the sameness of her day-to-day existence. Jill keeps Heather safe while she goes out with her closest friends, and keeps her out of the line of fire of her ex, business associates and overzealous fans.
After partying one night with friend Tracy (Greta Lee), Heather retires to her unwelcoming and cold home accompanied by Jill. In the morning, Jill goes to her apartment to shower and change for the coming day’s appointments. Upon returning to Heather’s mansion, Jill finds her lying on the floor dead.
Detective Edward Ahn (John Cho) labels Jill a suspect, a development she finds distressing. In order to clear her name, she sets out on her own to find the people in Heather’s life who would like to see her dead.
The film has a noir quality, which works well. I really appreciated the acting done by the two main characters played expertly by Zoë Kravitz and Lola Kirke. Both women’s faces are so expressive. They convey their feelings and deepest thoughts just through their facial expressions. No talking necessary. The role of Detective Ahn is not given a wide enough emphasis, but it’s a good role. Too bad John Cho didn’t have more to do, but Jill, who is determined to clear herself of any suspicion of the crime, spurs all the detective work on.
The encounter Jill has with filmmaker Greg (Nelson Franklin) amused me. He said if he were writing the story, referring to Heather’s death, he’d look for someone with motive, opportunity and capacity. Jill reminds him Heather’s death is not fiction. It’s a good encounter between the two of them and moves Jill’s amateur investigation along.
The film was written, directed and edited by Aaron Katz, and I really enjoyed this quiet mystery. The idea of setting the film within the world of a young celebrity inundated with responsibilities and pressures probably never imagined as she worked to get where she is today is a good one. You might still be able to see it at your local art cinema.