For the first half hour of Gemini, there’s a sense that writer/director Aaron Katz (Land Ho!) has crafted a pointless film — albeit a good-looking one that’s exceptionally well-lit (especially at night) and features some smooth yet not remarkably slick camerawork.
The interesting enough opening chapter centers on a night out in Los Angeles with movie star Heather Anderson (Zoë Kravitz, Mad Max: Fury Road) and her assistant Jill LeBeau (Lola Kirke, Mistress America), during which the celebrity drops out of a long-planned project, dodges calls from her recent ex-boyfriend and navigates an encounter with a fan.
But then something major occurs and the seemingly mundane events are forced into reexamination while keeping pace with the increasingly tense happenings in the present. As Jill searches for answers and questions the integrity of her friends, Detective Edward Ahn (John Cho, Columbus) and slime-ball paparazzi Stan (James Ransone) close in and deliciously complicate matters from their distinct angles.
Throughout the twists and turns, Katz keeps his technical prowess high while shepherding another confident, multifaceted turn by Kirke that makes one wonder why she’s not the lead in more movies. The rest of the cast follows suit as part of a collective effort that very well may be the best L.A.-set neo-noir since Drive.
Grade: B-plus. Rated R. Starts April 27 at the Fine Arts Theatre