Aaron Katz’s super tight thriller Gemini begins, as all good films do, with a girl and a gun. Make that two girls – movie star Heather (Zoë Kravitz) and her loyal assistant Jill (Lola Kirke). Heather wants a break from her career, having dumped her coin-collecting boyfriend-actor Devin and beginning a relationship with Tracy, a former K-Pop chanteuse. Jill’s the one who has to do her dirty work, meeting a disgruntled director and turning down a part. After a drunken evening of karaoke, Jill wakes up at Heather’s, leaves for a meeting, and when she returns there’s a corpse in the foyer. Cue act two. The suspects soon pile up – casual murder threats seem to be de rigueur in Hollywood – and Jill, now in disguise, busses around town to try and stay one step ahead of a detective (John Cho) who while conducting her own Nancy Drew-like inquisition.
In his first film set in Los Angeles, Katz gives us a taste of the realities of contemporary celebrity culture – the crazy superfan and her Instagram account, hounding paparazzi, the co-dependent relationship of personal assistant and star, neither of whom have any other real friends. Traversing the city both day and night, Katz’s visually precise, almost Assayasian genre film is in part told through domestic architecture, from the sleek surfaces of Heather and Tracy’s fancy abodes to the more lived-in apartment of Jill’s, where the two women enjoy a cocktail before fetching that firearm. With a 90s-style score by Keegan DeWitt and an enjoyable smidgen of self-reflexivity, Katz has made a personal film about the trials of friendship that earns its place in the storied lineage of LA thrillers.Mark Peranson