18 October 2009

The Wall of Tears

Finally I've got the trailer for Kirot, new crime thriller flick from Israel, starring Olga Kurylenko. The movie had a world premiere last month at Toronto film festival and received OK reviews. It is the second feature film of the young Israeli director Danny Lerner, who made a minor international splash with his debut film Frozen Days back in 2005.
Genre cinema is not very strong in Israel, where filmmakers prefer the festival circuit over commercial success. Numerous Israeli dramas participate in film festivals all over the world, winning prizes and making mild controversies. A year ago it was animated Waltz with Bashir, very interesting movie with great animation style, and the latest example is Lebanon, which won a month ago the main prize at Venice festival, making Israeli cinema a strong festival player. And it's just two examples, there are many other similar success stories as well, but when it comes to commercial success and drawing viewers to the theaters, all these films prove to be less than impressive.

With that in mind Lerner is trying to win both worlds, having the cake and eating it too, so to speak. Big caliber world star like Kurylenko promises attention, dark and gritty violent action style with gun play and powerful attitude promises appeal toward the young film loving crowd, and the use of English language is desperately trying to appeal to international viewers. Although it is not clear to me why such effort didn't include English diction lessons for the actresses, because it's not so easy to understand what they are saying. Despite obvious lack of experience in number of key areas and not enough creative thought to turn this movie into really attractive product, the film looks good. I am trying to ignore a bit banal story and strong amateurish feeling coming from this film, because after all the trailer creates some sort of an interest.

Kurylenko plays young Ukrainian woman, that finds herself forced to work as prostitute by criminal organization and trying to return back home to her daughter. She is living across the hall from young Israeli woman, a grocery-store clerk and battered wife who dreams of fleeing her abusive husband. A connection is created between two women, both on emotional and physical levels, a connection that empowers them to stand up against their abusers and fight back.

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