Zoe Kravitz, in her first solo lead, delivers a veteran’s performance on KIMI. She plays the role of a blue-haired tech guru hired by the developers of an Alexa-like or Siri-like device to fix communication bugs. She programs the algorithm to decipher words it’s never heard before, which invariably gives her access to people’s audio recordings.
One day, she hears something she wasn’t supposed to: a scream and a clutter that presumably point to violence, or perhaps, murder. As Zoe grapples with what to do next, she draws you in, making you question what you would do in that situation.
KIMI is about technology and its increasing influence on our lives
The film introduces us to Angela Childs (Zoe), a Seattle native working for a tech company. She’s the master of her surroundings, which are the four walls of her neat industrial loft: the pandemic, though subsiding, forces her to stay within her kingdom.
Angela appears to have some variation of OCD – she scrubs her body and teeth thoroughly, almost painfully, tidy’s her bed in military fashion, and rarely strays away from hand sanitizer.
She occasionally looks outside her window into people’s houses, making it seem like she’d desire to connect with someone – maybe a neighbor – but she soon snaps out of it and returns to her screen. Headphones on, she listens to clips KIMI can’t understand.
Childs seems unbothered at the eavesdropping her work forces her to do. It’s unsettling to think that we’ve agreed to place listening devices in our houses for convenience only to have someone on the other side listening to everything we say.
We’ve consented to an invasion of privacy that seemed improbable a couple of decades ago. Yet, Angela trundles on with her mundane pattern: sleep, eat, listen, resolve, look out the window, repeat.
Everything changes when, over the sound of music, she hears a scream. She has a litany of reasons to let it go, but she chooses to pursue it. Outside of her house, she’s no longer as confident or assured as she was inside.
She reports the audio to her bosses, who dismiss her concerns with condescending sneers. Childs is clearly out of her comfort zone, but she opts to get to the bottom of the video. Childs’ life becomes exciting and dangerous as the film morphs from a psychological thriller to an action flick.
KIMI is a subtle indictment of ‘Big Tech’ and its infiltration into our daily lives. The fact that someone is always listening is frightening, but Angela’s heroics make one wonder whether having somebody on the other side is entirely a bad thing.