"Kimi" stars Zoë Kravitz, Rita Wilson, India de Beaufort, Emily Kuroda, Bryon Bowers, Jaime Camil, Jacob Vargas, and Derek DelGaudio. Released on HBO Max on February 10, 2022, the film is about a tech worker who discovers a violent crime during a data stream.
The film was directed by Steven Soderbergh, who also directed films such as "Traffic", "Ocean's Eleven", "Magic Mike", "Logan Lucky", and "No Sudden Move". Many crazy things can happen when you're home alone, whether you're dealing with burglars or discovering a heinous crime. In this case, we should be more worried about the latter rather than a bunch of bumbling thieves. This film sees HBO Max continuing its 2022 movie lineup with the streaming service's latest collaboration with Steven Soderbergh. This is the third collaboration between the streaming service and the experimental filmmaker, following "Let Them All Talk" and "No Sudden Move", both of which gained some great reviews. Sadly, I couldn't watch them because I either didn't have the time, or they just didn't interest me that much anymore. Thankfully, this movie was able to change all that, thanks to its thrilling concept. Plus, I enjoyed some of Soderbergh's previous works, so I saw no reason as to why I should pass up on what he can do here. With that said, let's see if this movie can continue HBO Max's successful run in terms of its original films.
The story takes place in Seattle during the COVID-19 pandemic. Seriously, what is with certain movies and their fascination with setting their plots in the pandemic? It centers on Angela Childs (Kravitz), a tech worker from a corporation called Amygdala. She lives in her apartment and suffers from anxiety and agoraphobia due to her tragic past. While monitoring a data stream from Amygdala's product, Kimi, she discovered that it recorded a sexual assault that took place during that time. Angela must venture out into the unknown to resolve the situation, leading her to find that there's more to the crime than she realizes. Soderbergh is no stranger to the thriller genre, especially the films that offer elements relating to real-life commentary and psychological trauma. For "Kimi", the filmmaker takes the examination of surveillance technology, anxiety, and the COVID-19 pandemic and fuses them into a simplistic tech thriller about a housebound worker uncovering a conspiracy. The result is another smooth and mesmerizing experience that relies on old-school thrills than modern blockbuster effects. While its storyline doesn't have the proper coding to flip the genre on its head, it delivers a satisfying balance between character-driven drama and conspiracy-involved terror, mainly due to Steven Soderbergh's direction. Like his other movies like "Logan Lucky" and "Unsane", Soderbergh offers a unique sense of direction on capturing specific shots, both for the dramatic scenes or the action sequences. The wide-angle shots and the shaky-cam maneuvers are sublime in capturing the character's anxiety and the film's grounded tone in its violence. He doesn't go all out with the brutality to get the shock value. Instead, he relies on the character-driven moments and the subtle suspense to get people's hearts racing. It may not work 100% of the time, but it's serviceable enough to provide some entertainment values for 90 minutes. But, of course, the real star of the movie is none other than Zoë Kravitz, who brilliantly captures the agoraphobic persona of Angela Childs. What made this character even more interesting was her journey of self-healing. Angela has remained in her apartment due to an assault that has been worsened by the pandemic. She never goes outside for anything, even if she wants to. That is until she discovered that a woman had suffered the same fate as she did. Soderbergh did an impressive job representing a person like Angela, and Kravitz's performance made the presentation more enjoyable. I would even say that it makes me more excited to see what she can do as Catwoman in "The Batman". Rita Wilson and David DelGaudio were also good in their roles as Natalie Chowdhury and Bradley Hasling, respectively, both of which work for the Amygdala Corporation. I would also give the sound mixing team credit for the authenticity of listening to data streams with sound-proof headphones.
Overall, "Kimi" is a simplistic yet effective thrill ride that's sleek to the touch and eye-opening to a fault. The coding in the storyline may not be flawless, but it still showcases Steven Soderbergh as an ingenious visionary filmmaker. Zoë Kravitz was astounding in her leading role, Soderbergh's direction was top-notch along with the cinematography and sound mixing, and the thrills are wonderfully engaging. You don't need an Alexa-like invention to know that it's a by-the-numbers and entertaining thriller that's worth your time if you have HBO Max.