Review: KIMI, put blue hair dye on the shopping list

Zoë Kravitz in Kimi

KIMI is a tightly drawn thriller starring Zoë Kravitz. I was delighted by Zoë Kravitz, by the fast-paced action from director Steven Soderbergh, and by the kickass empowered ending for the main character. This film is streaming on HBO Max.

KIMI is the name of a smart device similar to Alexa. It’s a new product from developer Bradley Hasling (Derek DelGaudio) and the corporation called Amygdala. The company is ready to go public. The distinguishing feature of the device is real humans are helping it learn to communicate with users.

Zoë Kravitz in Kimi

One of those humans is Angela (Zoë Kravitz). She lives in a spacious apartment by herself, dyes her hair blue, monitors her neighbors outside the windows, and listens to recordings from KIMI of interactions that went wrong. She spends her days teaching the device things like when someone requests “kitchen paper” to be put on a shopping list, they mean “paper towels.”

One of her neighbors, Kevin (Devin Ratray), looks as housebound as she is. When Angela promises to meet another fellow from across the street, Terry (Byron Bowers), at the food truck on the curb under her window in 12 minutes, we learn that she is agoraphobic. She showers, dresses, grabs her keys, but can’t go out the door. This film doesn’t waste a second on anything. It takes a few further scenes before we learn that Angela was assaulted, hit by the COVID lockdowns, and now can’t face going out of her apartment.

Angela isn’t shy or timid. She’s assertive with the contractor remodeling the apartment above hers when he makes noise too early in the day. She’s plenty happy to see Terry when he comes to her place in the evenings for booty calls. She Facetimes with her mom (Robin Givens), her shrink, her dentist, and the people she works with.

Then one day she hears a KIMI stream that sounds like a murder. She hears a woman screaming and begging a guy named Brad. When she calls her boss, Bradley Hasling, he tells her to delete the recording and forget about it.

Instead she calls Darius (Alex Dobrenko), a tech wiz coworker. He gives her the means to find out the name of the owner of the smart device and hear all the recordings from the particular device. Now Angela is convinced it’s a murder.

Several phone calls later she connects with Natalie Chowdhury (Rita Wilson) from the Amygdala headquarters in downtown Seattle. Chowdhury promises Angela that if she comes to headquarters with the recordings, the FBI will be there waiting to take action.

She goes. She leaves her house. Everything about the way Zoë Kravitz played these scenes outside her house was outstanding physical performance. But Chowdhury had no FBI waiting, and soon thugs were chasing Angela. One of the thugs was played by Jaime Camil, minus his usual heavy Mexican accent and looking very menacing instead.

I won’t tell you about the final act of the film except to say that Angela was definitely the hero of her own story. I loved the ending and am still cheering for Angela right this minute.

There have been a number of COVID creations featuring people alone in a house in the last couple of years. This one is my favorite. It was quick, straightforward, interesting, and Zoë Kravitz was terrific. The deepest message of the film is to make you wonder whether having every moment of you life recorded is a good thing or a bad thing. Angela decided against it. What about you?

2 thoughts on “Review: KIMI, put blue hair dye on the shopping list”

  1. This was an excellent thriller and I thought Zoe Kravitz was terrific as well. So glad I turned off my Alexa puck after a few weeks! Best thing I’ve seen in a while with such a satisfying ending.

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