Top Ten Movies of 2022 — Number Nine

Understandable as the broadly adopted choice might be, it’s been strange to settle in with movies set in contemporary times and places and see how little the COVID-19 pandemic weighs on them. The fantasy of film fiction has rarely felt more distant, which gives a special jolt to those cinematic efforts that do acknowledge the constancy of self-protection that has arisen in recent years. Kimi, directed by Steven Soderbergh and written by David Koepp, has characters who wear face masks with weary caution and otherwise and plainly recognizable as residents in this moment in time, just one of the ways the film is squarely centered on the way we live now. This taut thriller embeds with a Seattle woman named Angela (Zoë Kravitz), who works from home conducting retrospective quality control for a virtual assistant device called Kimi. When one of the recordings she checks seemingly captured an act of domestic violence, Angela tries to report the incident only to get drawn into larger nefarious doings. Soderbergh is remarkably economical in his storytelling, buzzing the film along without discarding its astute social commentary or strongly rendered characterizations, the latter helped mightily by Kravitz’s delicate, focused performance. Rather than relying on comfy tropes, the film properly reckons with how modern technology would come into play in a dire situation like the one faced by Angela. More than most films, Kimi exists in the real world.

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