Nice trailer. I might watch this.
This was interesting for a number of reasons. Mainly because it’s Rear Window, but for millennials. Instead of the white everyman du jour confined to a wheelchair with a broken leg and tended by his girlfriend and nurse, it’s about a young black woman with crippling agoraphobia who occasionally hooks up with the fuck buddy she made during the COVID lockdown. Instead of seeing a murder through the window, she hears one through a Siri, because her gig worker job is to optimize fumbled Siri requests.
It’s also interesting for how Soderbergh shoots the outdoor stuff when Zoe Kravitz is finally driven from her apartment. It’s not as bold or omnipresent as the fish-eye lens from No Sudden Move (which I didn’t mind, but I know some of you hated). But after half the movie was shot in a single interior, with staid camerawork, suddenly Soderbergh transitions to a lot wide shots with handheld camera movement. It’s kind of showy, but it’s a great way to capture the main character’s disorientation and anxiety.
There’s some decent stuff with hacking and surveillance technology. At least compared to other thrillers, it’s less hand-wavy about things, a lot less dumb. I liked the range of villains a lot and especially the really hands-on evil ones, although good lord, David Koepp’s script gets super-dumb before the movie ends. This is one of those plots that would be over almost instantly if it weren’t for the bad guys doing something dumb or falling prey to some unlikely coincidence or rescue. I hate that pattern and it’s so common in scripts: first, you establish how ruthless and efficient the villains are, which raises the stakes and elevates the tension; but then you have to undercut that ruthlessness and efficiency so the good guys can survive long enough for the movie to reach a satisfying conclusion. I’m pretty sure they teach that in Weak Screenwriting 101. I expect more from Koepp.
But overall, I liked this as a variation on classics like Rear Window with even a touch of The Conversation. It’s got a great cast, of course, with lots of fun cameos. It’s nicely paced. As a director, Soderbergh is as interesting as he is uneven, and he’s still perfectly capable of cranking out a sleek little thriller.
By the way, can we talk about Zoe Kravitz’ cavernous apartment. What kind of freelance tech support worker in Seattle can afford a place like that? I had the sneaking suspicion as I was watching Kimi that it’s a movie about a filthy rich character.
Hahaha. Right? Her position is likely one that would require her to take a roommate in a cramped apartment to live on the pay they give her. Of course, that would be lame for a movie, so she gets to live like an independently rich person that does this in her spare time as a hobby.
Edit: I’d love to see a movie in which some crazy supernatural/thriller stuff is going on, and the main character just can’t do anything about it because they work 8-10 hours a day leaving very little time to go track down leads or consult with spies or whatever.
They filmed those scenes in LA.
But, hey, at least they actually shot exteriors in Seattle and not Vancouver.
A new Highlander show about an immortal who was like a bike courier for Jimmy John’s when mortal and gets hit by a car and “killed,” then realizes he’s got the perfect way to make money by just grinding out some investments but he’s got no seed capital, so the show is actually a sitcom about him trying to save up money working shit jobs to eventually be filthy rich and just ducking the other immortals who happen by because he knows nothing about fighting and particularly not sword fighting.
Finally a show that will be better with a laugh track.
“There can be only one!”
“Highlander is filmed before a live studio audience.”
I’m sorely disappointed this movie is not about the thoroughly quotable, recently retired F1 driver Kimi Raikkonen
Interviewer: “The helmet has a special meaning for many drivers. How important is it to you?”
Kimi: “It protects my head.”
Kimi: “I’d rather be probably out of second and third place so I don’t have to go to the prize-giving.”
Martin Brundle: “Kimi, you missed the presentation by Pele.”
Kimi : “Yeah.”
Martin: “Will you get over it?”
Kimi: “Yeah. I was having a shit.”
Interviewer: “The most exciting moment during the race weekend?”
Kimi: “I think so it’s the race start, always.”
Interviewer: “The most boring?”
For real. That was my main comment to my girlfriend during the first half of the film. I also love how a younger boomer like Soderbergh shows how hip he is to millennial culture by featuring a zoomer like Billie Eilish prominently in the soundtrack. And here’s Zoe, living on her mama’s largesse, having casual sex with a neighbor, being bitchy to her therapist, distracted by her phone… you know, millennial stuff!
Kravitz is good, with really expressive body language. The script is both boring and conventional. Soderbergh spoils the agoraphobia effect by showing us a few scenes not from Zoe’s perspective. It would have worked better if it was like Shadow in the Cloud.
I was impressed at first that the tech stuff seemed realistic. She was applying heuristics to the database in a relatively realistic way. And her initial foray into cleaning up the sound file was pretty good…until she turned some knobs on her mixer and the voices jumped out. And then it was all hacker magic from then on.
We watched an hour of the film and then fast-forwarded to the end, which caused us to miss approximately nothing. Hey the guy practically wearing a “creepy guy” t-shirt turns out in a shocking twist to not be creepy. There are just no surprises here. Except… except I expected this film to be about the perils of always-on surveillance tech and it is nearly the opposite of that. The message of this film, if there is one, is that we should welcome the security of our new panopticon.
Did you get to see Rita Wilson’s appearance? Not as fun as the similarly uncomfortable HR scene with Julia Garner and Matthew Macfadyen in The Assistant, but still very good. Did you get to see the kidnapping attempt at the downtown demonstration? I can’t decide if that scene was awesome (an abduction in broad daylight on a crowded street!) or dumb (an abduction in broad daylight on a crowded street?).
I feel like Koepp’s script didn’t care about the privacy issues, or any of the larger issues. In fact, I’d almost go so far as to say the privacy issue was a canard early on. The movie’s version of Siri is nothing more than a high-tech window through which the protagonist happens to see a murder, at which point the movie has zero interest in exploring ethical or social issues. Instead, it’s just a thriller in which a middle-aged techbro schlub tries to cover up an affair, and everything is in service of making sure the thriller plays out according the usual Rear Window beats.
In other words, I would lean towards the “there is no message” part of your sentence. :)
Also, when Soderbergh delivers a message, he Delivers a Message (this is where I would link to the godawful ending of The Laundromat if it were available online, or even No Sudden Move, which has a weirdly blunt social issue bolted onto the ending).
Oh I saw it :)
Yeah, we watched both of those. I do have to admit the abduction scene was pretty novel for how it went.
Yeah, I think you’re right. I was just non-plussed because the trailer made it seem so clearly like Kimi was a malevolent presence, but it was not the focus of the film.
I saw the trailer and wondered if it was a tween version of Rear Window.
Rear Window and Blow Out.
Disturbia, I believe, would be the Rear Window that was aimed solidly at a young audience.
Not for tweens, though! As I said in the bit you’re quoting, it’s Rear Window for millennials. It’s very much an adult movie.
Hey I didn’t know Kimi is such a joy to be around (just voicing out loud what most introverts are thinking). Thanks for sharing.
I enjoyed this, knowing nothing going in other than it was Soderbergh and that it was Hitchcock-esque. Given No Sudden Move was kinda stodgy and Hitchcock tributes are usually terrible, I did not have high hopes.
But this gets its thriller on perfectly well. It moves right along a tight 90 minutes. It probably helped that I watched this after the bloated Nightmare Alley, so the brevity was welcome.
It’s not world changing, but it does feel up-to-date (except for some of the pop music choices): it’s interesting to see the pandemic in a movie not as a plot point or even a reference, really, but just as a feature of the world. It isn’t too slavishly devoted to mimicking Hitchcock (or other things it pillages like Blow Up): the camera movement in the last act is pure Soderbergh. There’s a nice score by Cliff Martinez that evokes Herrmann without copying his every last tic.
It’s not world-changing, and, like its inspirations, the plot will wilt under the slightest scrutiny. But I thought it was worth my time and showed Hitchcock can be updated to the modern age.
You are welcome Soma. Its worth a google search to find some others (there are many). I’m not a big F1 fan, but I became a fan of Kimi’s after the “leave me alone I know what I’m doing remark” back in 2012. I then got to see him win a race at COTA, i think the last F1 race he won.