A 21st Century spin on the Alfred Hitchcock classic “Rear Window,” “Kimi” is a timely thriller.
Screenwriter David Koepp is no stranger to thrillers. He penned “The Trigger Effect” and “Stir of Echoes,” as well “Jurassic Park.” It was directed by Steven Soderbergh, who has helmed some of my favorite films, including “Side Effects” and “Behind the Candelabra.”
Zoë Kravitz stars as the blue-haired, agoraphobic Angela, who never leaves her Seattle loft apartment. In her home, she works as a “voice stream interpreter” for a gizmo that takes commands – think a combination of Siri and Alexa.
She is an employee of the Amygdala (if that sounds familiar, it’s part of the brain that is a kind of emotion hub) Corp., a tech company that produces the devices. To use it, all you need to do is say “Kimi?” and the device answers “I’m here.”
Every day, Angela reviews hundreds of exchanges recorded by Kimi, all the better to clarify commands Kimi can better understand.
In the meantime, Angela has brief trysts with a neighbor who comes to see her. Otherwise, she communicates with other people via texts and phone calls.
Sometimes, it’s clear Angela wants to leave her apartment safe haven, but she cannot make herself do it. Still, she watches with interest what happens on the street below.
Angela herself is being watched, too.
One day, Angela hears a disturbing incident on a stream. When she isolates the sound, she believes she has heard a murder.
Now, all she needs to do it get someone at Amygdala to believe her. And to do that, she must travel to an office to speak to a supervisor (Rita Wilson in a great cameo.)
I love the look of this movie, which reflects its pandemic, or post-pandemic, era with some people wearing masks in various environments. Soderbergh’s direction, particularly when Angela must leave her comfort zone, leaves the viewer feeling as off-balance as Angela does.
It’s an homage I think Hitchcock would applaud.
3 ½ stars
Rated: R for foul language, nudity, sexual situations and violence.
Running time: 149 minutes.
Streaming on HBO Max.