Eventually, however, circumstances force Angela to steel herself and venture outside, at which point Kimi finally kicks into high gear. Soderbergh suggests her off-the-charts anxiety with disorienting angles and cacophonous sound design; unlike the distorted lens he used throughout No Sudden Move, these deliberately jarring formal choices serve a clear purpose (and disappear once no longer needed). The evil corporate conspiracy she’s inadvertently uncovered—thereby making her the target of paid assassins (who at one point attempt to abduct her on the street in broad daylight, right beside a huge crowd of protesters)—is way over the top. But Koepp finds some genuinely chilling notes in the margins. “We take this very seriously,” Amygdala employees keep telling Angela as she reports her concern; the more they repeat it, unprompted, the less reassuring it sounds. And while the film doesn’t draw our attention to the company’s internal data, sharp-eyed viewers will catch the user screen that includes three separate tiers of “purchase interest” (mild, actionable, intense) for items that people have mentioned in Kimi’s earshot.

Still, Kimi isn’t entirely a dystopian cautionary tale. Part of what makes the film’s first half comparatively bland is that Koepp uses that time to plant a bunch of seemingly ordinary and innocuous details that’ll pay off in the home stretch. Without revealing too much, let’s just note for the record that there are circumstances in which it might be quite useful to perform certain actions via voice commands. One moment in particular makes the film’s exclusive presence on HBO Max seem like a shame, as it’s fun to imagine audiences (or at least an audience of a certain age) cheering in response. For all of its legitimate concerns about erosion of privacy in the digital age, Kimi is in many respects no less silly and conspiracy-friendly than Moonfall, imagining Jeff Bezos as Big Brother and Amazon’s entire staff as the Thought Police. For those who prefer clever plotting to F/X spectacle, however, it’s a whole lot easier to swallow.