Reader’s Digest version of Mulholland Drive
Gemini (2017): 7 out of 10: A young assistant (Lola Kirke) to a somewhat high maintenance movie star (Zoë Kravitz) finds herself on the run from the police after a horrific crime she did not commit. Can she solve the mystery before the police, led by detective John Cho, catch up to her?
The Good: This is a beautiful film. It is filled with beautiful people in beautiful places and it is incredibly well shot and framed. The scenery porn goes a long way to make this film enjoyable to watch. No matter what else is going on in the movie, the film looks great doing it.
The acting is solid across the board with Zoë Kravitz and John Cho particular standouts. I certainly could watch a different movie with each of those characters.
The first third of the movie has a languid naturistic pace that hypnotizes one. While the rest of the film goes down a different, less satisfying path, the first third is a great slice of life and well worth watching.
The Bad: Lola Kirke is no Naomi Watts. She isn’t awful, mind you, but she just doesn’t have enough screen presence to lead the film. The admittedly excellent looking furniture outshines her. Her not being Naomi Watts goes a long way to why Gemini is not Mulholland Drive. Another lead actress, either a star (Emma Stone of La La Land) or an up and comer with a bit more charisma (Florence Pugh of Lady MacBeth) would have done wonders for the film.
Another reason that Gemini is not Mulholland Drive is the central mystery. Mulholland Drive sticks with you partially for being a bit of a mind screw. You can figure out the main mystery in Gemini from the title screen. Knowing the mystery before the characters do is not the death knell for a movie or they wouldn’t keep remaking those Agatha Christie books. But if you are going to ape Mulholland Drive (And make no mistake, this movie does so. In some ways quite well) you may want to throw in a twist or a red herring or two that can fool people out of short pants.
The Ugly: As I mentioned before, Mulholland Drive sticks with you because of the mystery that draws you in. There is another reason Mulholland Drive sticks with some. Gemini contains three beautiful actresses, all playing possible lesbian or bisexual characters who take showers on screen and lie in bed together. It is rated R…for pervasive language and a violent image. This is… disappointing.
In Conclusion: On its own Gemini is a beautiful film with some solid performances and a great slice of life experience, especially before the mystery kicks in. Unfortunately, it is also the Reader’s Digest version of Mulholland Drive with all the mystery and good bits cut out.