Kimi, an Entertaining if Minor Slice of Pandemic Life

Films set during the pandemic are few and far between, with many electing to take place in a world without COVID. It’s understandable, given the myriad of factors that might complicate any given narrative. Nevertheless, it’s a little strange watching an entertainment ecosystem largely ignore the most pertinent daily reality of the last two years. Kimi is the exception to that, a picture that is not only set during lockdown, but uses the pandemic for specific narrative purposes. Angela Childs (Zoe Kravitz) is an agoraphobic tech sector employee working for a conglomerate like Google or Amazon, monitoring people’s lives via audio streams captured off of a smart speaker called Kimi, their form of Echo or Home. One day she witnesses the awful sound of a young woman murdered, and what a tangled web this ethically dubious company weaves once Angela, a victim of abuse herself, goes looking for justice. There’s a single, chief problem at the heart of Kimi, revolving around the suspension of disbelief required to buy into the notion that a high-profile corporation in 2022 would go to such lengths to bury the skeletons in one man’s closet. Director Steven Soderbergh and screenwriter David Koepp make it incredibly apparent that it’s more than the perpetrator himself trying to bury it, trying to have Angela killed once they know her goal is to bring it to the authorities. Given the film’s otherwise hyperreal proclivities, it’s simply incongruous for such cartoonishness to rear its head, even if it is wildly entertaining watching Angela and her nosy next-door neighbor (Devin Ratray) knock off hired assassins one by one like this is home-grown Home Alone with a nail gun. Soderbergh remains a talented filmmaker, as evidenced by Kimi’s tight runtime and razor-sharp narrative, but his days of fomenting substantial pictures seem far behind him.

Grade: B-

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