Marketed as millennial mumble-noir, Aaron Katz’ new feature is an all-encompassing funny and sexy mystery thriller that sadly fails to deliver much from any of these categories.
The film’s recognisable names and places name-check the likes of Mulholland Drive, Big Little Lies and Mistress America. As such, it’s an easily marketable flick with an LA noir aesthetic that will be sure to attract wide audiences. However, the weakness, or rather, the sheer awkwardness of its very concept destines it unlikely to make much of an impression on them.
While the two girls’ rapport is enjoyable, its screwball elements jar against its attempt to create suspense. Heather and Jill aren’t very believable characters, and their witty interactions seem to be included simply to allow the excessive continuity shots of leather-clad Kirke riding a motorbike up and down the Hollywood Hills to go uncriticised.
The murder plot is quite simplistic; its title pretty much gives things away. With nods to other films (the poster for Claire Denis’ 35 Shots of Rum hangs on the walls of the apartment of a supporting character), perhaps Katz hoped his audiences would not judge the film on its own merits but its position within a filmography of other neo-noir films and screwball comedies.
To be fair, Kirke and Kravitz have done the best with what they’ve been given. As if to tease us with what we aren’t watching, Kirke’s first line of dialogue is, ‘No, this isn’t Tracy’, recalling fond memories of her character in Mistress America. Oh how we wish it was.
This film is the murder victim of its half-baked screenplay. Unoriginal in his premise and heavy-handed in his direction, Aaron Katz has committed a federal crime. While its production boasts of glamorous locations and Hollywood stars, there are so many more movies we’d rather be watching instead.
CAST: Lola Kirke, Zoë Kravitz, John Cho
DIRECTOR: Aaron Katz
WRITER: Aaron Katz
SYNOPSIS: A heinous crime tests the complex relationship between a tenacious personal assistant and her Hollywood starlet boss. As the assistant unravels the mystery, she must confront her own understanding of friendship, truth, and celebrity.