Kimi, play “Country Roads.”

I just want to say a FEW words about Kimi because it’s a real movie and a new movie, neither of which I watch very often. Kimi is the new Steven Soderbergh movie showing on HBO Max. Zoe Kravitz plays Angela, a tech worker who’s choosing to stay in her apartment because of reasons including COVID-19, which I can totally relate to. A stream from a connected device she’s troubleshooting, the titular Kimi (think Siri and Alexa, but an even more evil company) records a crime and Angela makes the agonizing decision to go out of her home to report it. Some very bad chaps try to stop this information getting out.

How to talk about this movie without giving anything away? I will say that I always appreciate Soderbergh’s sparing use of background music. Sometimes silence will do. He did the same thing in Magic Mike, even though that’s a movie about dancing and so obviously used music. Sometimes when characters are going through the action of the film silence makes the later use of music more powerful, too, and that’s what happens in Kimi. During the final fight I was cheering, and the music was a big part of that.

Kimi is a movie that tries to tell us, I think, that there are still good people out there who will risk themselves to help others and to reveal the truth. Sometimes this gets them injured or killed, but it’s still important to do the right thing. And Kimi is a movie about taking back your life after a trauma. I was particularly touched by the way Angela’s hair color changed from the blue it was during most of the movie to pink at the end. Blue has come to mean sad, and pink represents happiness or at least health. I wish pink had not been co-opted by cancer awareness. Cancer deserves to be represented by doo doo brown and puke green, not a lovely pink like your hair after you fought the bad chaps.

Another thing I like about Soderbergh is that his movies tend to be straightforward. If Christopher Nolan had made this I would have to wonder if it was all taking place in Angela’s head. I’m happy to say that the events of this movie actually happened in the universe of this movie, and it’s very satisfying. I don’t think about Steven Soderbergh very often, but when I take an inventory of his movies that I have seen they usually have a moment that gets to me, like the audience at the beauty pageant in Logan Lucky singing “Country Roads.” He’s one of our best directors working today.

While everyone online this week who has seen Kimi is drawing comparisons to The Conversation and Rear Window, I also noticed that “Angela” was the name of the main character in the 1995 techno paranoia movie The Net, and I think that’s probably intentional because “Angela” is not a name you usually see assigned to a millennial character like the one in Kimi. I only saw The Net once, in the theater, but what I remember most is that it was supposed to be shameful that Angela stayed home and ordered a pizza online instead of calling or going out for pizza. Now we’re in a world where you rarely have to leave your house if you don’t want to, and in a real sense it could save your life. Technology is not going away, but there are still humans behind it and we can still reach them and usually decide which ones we want to buzz in to our building. Do you really want to go back to having to kill a deer with a rock tied to a stick? I don’t.

I would like to go out to the movies again, though. The night I saw The Net my roommate and I had for some reason driven to a different town, a very la-di-da suburb of Atlanta. We saw it at the theater inside the mall, and afterwards the upscale mall was having fireworks even though it wasn’t a holiday, and we watched them from the roof of the parking deck. That was more fun than the movie, I think.

I will make one more comparison, and it’s that Kimi reminded me of Run Lola Run. I was assigned to watch Run Lola Run in the campus theater by an English professor when I went back to school. It made quite a good impression on me, unlike the unfunny French comedy With A Friend Like Harry, which I was also assigned to watch that year. If you like thrillers, Run Lola Run might be even better than Kimi.

P.S. Angela of Kimi has a toothache during the movie, and I have to say that a tooth abscess horrifies me more than being chased by hired killers.