Original title: Kirot
Director: Danny Lerner
Starring: Olga Kurylenko, Ninette Tayeb, Liron Levo
A while back there was a media buzz surrounding Olga Kurylenko due to her stint as a Bond girl in Quantum of Solace. Bond movies are not my bag, so I never really knew what the fuss was all about. However, I did catch her in a few smaller roles, none of which left a particularly lasting impression.
That all changed with Kirot, which I decided to check out based purely on the fact that the storyline centred around an ass-kicking revenge-fueled female assassin. Bring it on! The first lasting impression gleaned from Kirot is that Ms Kurylenko is quite nice looking. Closely followed by the second lasting impression - she is one terrific actress.
Both of these details are important here, because Kirot is undeniably the Kurylenko show. She eats up the vast majority of the film's screen time, and the rest of the characters are little more than bit-players in this gritty revenge flick.
We first meet Galia (Kurylenko) in an Israeli whorehouse, struggling to fix a smile on her face for the paying customers, much to the chagrin of her 'owner' Roni (Levo). He paid top dollar for her, and as far as he is concerned he owns both her pussy and her soul. But Galia is no wallflower, and spying an opportunity to escape, she takes it.
Unfortunately she does not get very far, and is savagely beaten on capture. With her owners realising they'll need to recoup their investment another way, they press her into service as a contract assassin. With no money and no passport - she has little option but to agree, being strung along with the promise of her freedom once the 'next' job is completed.
She is given her own apartment, and its not long before she strikes up a friendship with the Jewish girl next door, Elinor (Tayeb), who suffers constant physical abuse from her asshole husband. In fact, almost all the men in this film are very violent to women, and its no wonder that the two women seek solace in each other. Well ... not *that* kind of solace - not explicitly at least. Although it certainly seems to be simmering close beneath the surface of their outwardly platonic relationship.
Which brings us to the tone of the film - distinctly neither exploitational nor escapist, despite the subject matter. Aside from the unlikelihood of a 100lb supermodel taking down a group of Israeli gangsters, the film grounds itself in a gritty reality. The violence is brutal, and the characterisations, motivations and actions of the characters are given a distinctly human aspect.
Although to be fair, the 100lb supermodel comment is not really justified. Sure, that's how she looks - but Kurylenko brings a fierce and determined steel to her character that results in no jarring incongruity with her ass-kicking exploits. And while there is certainly action and brutality aplenty, there is also equal parts human drama, allowing Kurylenko to show she's far more than just a pretty face.
Colour me totally impressed ... Kurylenko is a star on the rise.
The dialog is spoken in Hebrew, Russian and stilted English ... meaning practically everyone will be watching this with subtitles. Consequently it may well struggle to find wide exposure, and the dramatic aspect may not suit the average action fan. Nevertheless, the film is well worth checking out for Kurylenko's star performance.
Original title: Kirot