Although it has a modern visual style and a mise en scène more in tune with The Neon Demon and Mulholland Drive, Aaron Katz’s very enjoyable Gemini is one of the most laid-back Los Angeles mystery films since Robert Altman’s The Big Goodbye. Jill (Lola Kirke) is the overworked personal assistant of movie star Heather (Zoë Kravitz), who has to deal with the fallout from Heather’s movie-star behavior, such as pulling out from the latest project of acerbic director Greg (Nelson Franklin). When Jill discovers Heather’s dead body in her opulent home, Jill becomes the prime suspect.
To find the real killer, she dives into Hollywood’s nightlife — gorgeously rendered in purples and blues by cinematographer Andrew Reed — with suspects including Heather’s ex-boyfriend (Reeve Carney) and director Greg, and a homicide detective (John Cho) on her trail. Even though Jill is attempting to clear her name and beat being charged with a murder she’s certain she didn’t commit in spite of all the evidence to the contrary, there’s never a sense of high tension or urgency — but that’s also part of the picture’s “Let’s solve a mystery!” charm. And while Gemini may or may not be the first murder mystery in which an Instagram hashtag provides a crucial clue, it surely won’t be the last.
Opens Friday at the Alamo Drafthouse New Mission and the AMC Metreon 16.