Steven Soderbergh is a prolific filmmaker with a diverse and rich filmography. Whether you’ve seen Traffic, Ocean’s Eleven, or Magic Mike, there’s something for everyone when it comes to the writer/director. His latest feature, Kimi, which was an HBO Max exclusive is about a tech worker who makes a shocking discovery about a potential crime but is given some pushback when she tries to report it. However, determined to get justice behind this possible crime, the worker must leave her apartment in order to do so. The film stars Ms. Selina Kyle herself, Zoe Kravitz, Rita Wilson, and Robin Givens. So, did this quiet thriller skip theaters because it’s a bad film? Or is a pretty good feature that should’ve been given an exclusive run?
First things first, Zoe Kravitz is incredible in this movie. Her performance keeps you glued to the screen. In retrospect, there’s nothing special about the dialogue (though nothing terrible either), but it’s the character of Angela Childs that’s fascinating. Our protagonist has dealt with a traumatic past that’s made her hesitant to go out into the world. It’s the mannerisms of this damaged woman that speaks about her overall plight. Some of the hesitation in her speech patterns to awkward and nervousness she displays throughout really help sell the character. All of this feels natural, and the actress is tremendous from beginning to end. This is a Steven Soderbergh film so you’re going to get a great-looking feature with fine performances. Unfortunately, Kimi introduces a lot of interesting ideas, but the film fails to really expand on them.
In fact, her hesitation in going out into the world doesn’t make all that much sense when you think about it. The fact that COVID is mentioned in the film is interesting, but that’s not the reason she’s wary of going outside of her house. Given the nature of the incident, you would think that she would be less trusting of people, mainly men. Yet, she has a boyfriend and though her trust does come into play, she’s clearly into the guy. I’m not saying that Kimi needed to be some man hating film, but it would’ve been better if her distrust was in men, not going outside of her home. Even that aspect isn’t really given a story push. Once she’s forced to exit her home to report the supposed crime, there’s only a slight pause before going outside. Here’s a woman who has been afraid to exit her home for months. She refuses to get therapy for her illness, and yet, she didn’t particularly have any issues going outside. Again, Kravitz is fantastic as her fear isn’t dropped once, she exits her home. Childs being closed and fearful of the world is still showcased through her physical performance, but you end up wondering why she was given such a struggle in the first place when it’s not really much of issue in the end.
The corruption within the justice system would’ve been a better focus. Why do these people have such a problem with Angela Childs? It appears that racism is at play here, but the film is vague about its rather complex story. Still, despite the missed opportunities that could’ve made Kimi more than just an ordinary thriller, the Soderbergh vehicle is still worth a watch. Nothing in this film is going to blow you away. Okay, maybe except Kravitz’s performance. However, the story beats become predictable once the third act kicks in. I wanted to know more about this world or the corrupt nature of the system, but it ultimately became an action thriller towards the pedestrian climax. Is this as good as Traffic? Not even close. However, I didn’t feel that I wasted time watching this movie either. There’s nothing particularly wrong with the script per se, it just doesn’t give you the meat that you want, but the story’s simplicity doesn’t ruin it overall. The other characters in the film play their parts well, but this is mainly Zoe Kravitz’s showcase. The supporting characters nicely serve a purpose to the protagonist’s journey, but you wouldn’t find a performance that tops the lead here. All-in-all, Kimi is not a bad film. As I previously mentioned, it’s worth a watch, but not necessarily something that you desperately need to seek out. It’s like comfort food, makes your belly and mouth happy, but doesn’t expand your taste buds and open yourself to a new experience. Had Kimi dug more into its political themes then it would’ve been far more memorable.