The latest from mumblecore alum Aaron Katz (Land Ho!) is maddeningly banal and self-indulgent. It's the cinematic equivalent of a selfie. A Mulholland Drive wannabe that's a creative dead end. A murder mystery that's deadly dull. I could excoriate it all day.
Run, don't walk to Gemini. Then keep running. You'll not only get a little exercise, you'll spare yourself one of the most tedious, totally meaningless moviegoing endurance tests in memory. All style and zero substance, the film opens with a shot of upside-down palm trees bathed in a palette of blues and purples that some reviewers have perplexingly described as "ultraviolet" or "neon."
They're really just blues and purples, though, and the upside-down palm trees are quickly righted so we can get on with things. Unbelievably tiresome things, such as pampered starlet Heather Anderson (Zoë Kravitz) parking outside a Tinseltown eatery and dispatching her personal assistant, Jill LeBeau (Lola Kirke), inside. Jill informs the director Heather has agreed to meet that she's inexplicably decided not to do the movie she previously agreed to do with him, thereby scuttling the long-gestating project.
Another tiresome thing: a fan who won't take no for an answer joining Jill in her booth once the director has stormed out. The fan insists on staying to have a photo taken with the actress when she appears, then staying to take more, so that we have ample time to note the striking resemblance between pampered starlet and stalker. (This will prove relevant, though not at all interesting, in the final act.)
And another: Heather giving semi-apathetic paparazzi the brush, inexplicably deciding not to do reshoots to which she previously agreed, and breaking up with her boyfriend. Halfway into Gemini, the pampered character has succeeded in pissing off a significant number of people. So, when Jill arrives at Heather's flashy pad and discovers a dead body in a pool of blood, she's torn between grief and shock at the sheer abundance of potential suspects.
As the last person seen with Heather, however, Jill finds herself the focus of police scrutiny. John Cho plays Detective Edward Ahn. He oversees what might be the most lethargic murder investigation in movie history. Here's an example of how borderline disinterested he is: Jill figures it's in her interest to give him the slip so she can solve the crime herself, and all it takes to pull this off is dyeing her hair blond.
Now, bear in mind, hers isn't just any hairstyle. It's this super-distinctive Cleopatra cut. In the state of California, there probably isn't another person with a hairstyle half as distinctive. And she doesn't alter the coif in any way. Just dyes it blond and, presto, she's invisible.
Given the nonstop barrage of nonsense like that, I'm not sure the film merits a whole lot more comment. Nothing that happens is remotely riveting. None of the characters is likable in the least. (That's saying something, given what an appealing presence Kirke was in Mistress America.) And the third act's big twist is nearly as preposterous as it is non-riveting.
Katz directed, wrote and edited the movie. He's like Orson Welles without the talent. All indications suggest the filmmaker thinks he's redefining noir for the age of Instagram. But Gemini isn't so much a case of whodunit as whocares. Katz shoots for moody minimalism but misses by a mile. The only real mystery here is how he managed to convince investors anyone would care about any of this.