Quick-Thoughts: Steven Soderbergh’s Kimi

Sadly related to the part where Angela was almost willing to compromise her self-made quarantine restrictions to go to a food truck but not to go to a dentistry to get her teeth fixed. 

Aww, Soderbergh meets Kravitz? This should’ve been way better! As we approach meatier reliances on smart devices such as Alexa or Siri, surveillance continues to reign as quite the relevant topic especially in the language of film, but Kimi doesn’t even seem to want to surpass the whole “every person in a high position is corrupt” and “technology and therefore corporations and their minions secretly know everything about you” commentary, which may soar perfectly fine for others as simple reiteration so long as its execution is engaging, but from even a directing perspective this was quite mediocre to me. The poster’s tagline “she’s not the only one listening” speaks enough for itself as to the type of surface quotes the film will only offer and regurgitated food for thought that can’t quite justify an entire movie tediously emphasizing little but. 

Only four years ago, Soderbergh shot a movie on an iPhone (of anything) and used a wide range of colors and compositions to express the inner-working and mental ambiguity of our lead character and the “could be could not?” objective / subjective space of her environment, instead of now just being like “Look! Handheld! Tilting! Anxiety!” every so often to uphold the character of Angela. Obviously the two don’t have to commit to the same methods, just one vividly shows more signs of creative attempt to engage us with the lead and her story while the latter doesn’t besides say maybe in some of its neat audio work. The plot-writing and use of timing here can occasionally be more irritating than intense as well, yet again, what’s really hindering Kimi is its inability to emotionally exhilarate any of its establishments of industrial corruption and COVID-19 working / living circumstances in a now constantly spied on world or even just any of its few characters who evidently have the potential to. And, if not for that, at least the decency to write interesting instead of cliché remarks that aren’t just rehashes of dilemmas plaguing technological surveillance we’ve all heard before; winks and nods such as “we have your password already” and the dozen other realizations that people today seem to know more about us than we ever assume as our grasp on physical space continues to dwindle can’t cut it for even a barely theatrical runtime. I just don’t completely see what the point of making or watching this is when we have better Orwellian movies that came out literally more than 40 years ago like The Conversation (1974) and Blow Out (1981) that somehow still feel more relevant today than a movie set in present time which clearly isn’t trying to have a large impact on its viewers despite its privilege of living in the now.

I’m also not too sure what urged writer David Koepp to radically shift tone to make for a cute ending, but I guess more than anything it just goes to represent the perfect epitome of this film’s naive reluctance to oversee arcs coming together thoroughly and rather swiftly to its dismay.

Verdict: C-

2022 Ranked

“Kimi” is now available to stream on HBO Max.

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