The trailer of the 2022 thriller ‘Kimi’ lets viewers know the film is about an agoraphobic tech worker who discovers evidence of a violent crime while going through a data stream. Now it’s up to her to bring the crime to light, but first – she’ll have to overcome the darkness of her own fears.

Directed by Steven Sonderbergh, the plot takes time to build-up, because the runtime is under 90 minutes, so a lot of us expect the conflict to begin in the first few minutes. Zoe Kravitz plays the blue-haired Angela Childs, a young woman who lives in a rather spacious Seattle flat and is afraid of stepping out of its safe confines. We see her have conversations with her mother, neighbor, potential boyfriend, dentist and a passive-aggressive therapist. But the back-story of why the protagonist suffers from Agoraphobia is conspicuously missing, except for a brief foggy explanation that doesn’t really help much. With little known about Angela, she isn’t exactly very likable, but Kravitz nails the part. The actors playing the antagonists however are forgettable.

Angela works for a tech start-up that develops a smart virtual Alexa like assistant called ‘Kimi’. Sonderbergh cleverly mirrors modern fears surrounding such tech, touching upon the much debated question – ‘are they always listening?’. Visually, the movie is slick, and we don’t get an overdose of depressing dark tones that hang over thrillers. In-fact, some parts of Kimi look like an absurd fantasy play, especially due to the interesting choice of background score during a particular chase scene.

What really strikes you about this film is just how simple, minimalist the thriller is, and yet packs in as many themes as it can – mental health, therapy, strained family ties, fake social-media feeds, sexual assault, violent crime, problematic big tech firms, stalking, #MeToo, skewed justice system, bureaucracy and what not. So despite a near perfect pace, with things flowing smoothly, the story feels underwhelming by the end. Sonderbergh has fun with the script written by David Koep, by bending genres and playing with stylistic elements. Some stuff is straight out of comic-books, like villains popping up out of nowhere or hackers living with their moms (or grandmom?) wreaking havoc remotely.

There are two climactic twists, one that’s quite problematic because it glorifies creepy behavior, but the other one about Angela fighting back the bad guys was pretty gratifying. Don’t we all love a ‘wronged victim to hero’ plot?

It’s a 6.5/10 from me.

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