Reviewed by

Christopher Armstead

In this movie ‘Kirot’ or ‘The Assassin Next Door’, we meet Galia (Olga Kurlenko) and Nina (Yana Goor) who are a pair of miserable whores at an Israeli whorehouse. Yes, I do believe ‘Miserable Whore’ is redundant. Both of these young ladies have had enough and decide to make a break for it, but alas it is not to be. We’ve seen enough of these movies to know that the worst set of people on the planet earth, worst than child molesters, serial killers, and corporate CEO’s are dudes who run whorehouses full of Eastern Bloc women. These dudes are the absolute worst. We’re not going to concern ourselves with Nina anymore but Galia has flatly refused to whore anymore. Her handler Mishka (Vladimir Freidman) takes this news surprisingly well, promising to allow Galia to go free, give her the money she’s earned over the years and return her passport to her if she does a little job for him.

Of course the job was putting a bullet in somebody’s head, but I imagine anything beats being an indentured whore so she does this thing. Does she get her money and her passport? Of course she doesn’t. What she does get is her own cockroach ridden flat and the promise of eventual freedom if she continues to keep doing the odd murder job for these guys. At this flat she makes the acquaintance of her neighbor Elinor (Ninet Tayab) whose main function in life at this time is being a punching bag for her abusive husband.

Eventually the Ukrainian Assassin and the abused Israeli woman become damaged friends helping each other through the difficult days that lie ahead. Galia wants to return to the Ukraine to reunite with the daughter she left behind a few years ago, Elinor would like her husband to stop beating her, or at the very least find a safe place to raise her unborn child. They do stuff that girls like to do such as talk about nonsense, do each other’s hair and shoot guns into the air. You know, girl stuff.

Finally the time comes where Galia is given the opportunity to do one last gig and at long last get to go home. That’s what they told her. Also Elinor’s abusive husband, awash with the glow of having their first child, has told his wife he will stop beating her. That’s what he told her. I think most of us know that both of these statements are lies. One woman is fully aware of this but another is not and we’ll let you figure out which woman is the wiser of the two.

So Galia’s boss Mishka is a really bad guy. His boss Roni (Liron Levo) is ten times worse. Roni’s boss Peter (Henry David) is the devil. If Galia is going to make it out of Israel it’s only going to be through the tip of a gun. What chance does a 5’10" supermodel who wears a slick black leather coat like she’s John Shaft or somebody have against a bunch of really mean, really angry, heavily armed dudes who are dead set against seeing her make it back home? You would be surprised.

First, a public service announcement for all young woman from Russia, Romania, Hungary, The Ukraine or any other country out that way I might’ve left out. Stay where you are. If I use movies as a basis to what I know about life, I know that if you leave your country, no matter what country you might go to, you will be forced into prostitution and drug addiction. Just… stay where you are. Thank you.

‘Kirot’ is a different kind of action movie. Gritty, soulful, depressing, realistic to a point and ultimately entertaining. Directed by Danny Lerner, I thought I was going to get a stupid brain dead action movie because those are the kinds of movies that the Danny Lerner I know directs. Ooops, wrong Danny Lerner. Two Israeli born film directors named Danny Lerner. Go figure. This version of Danny Lerner has created a film that is largely a drama that is accentuated by the action as opposed to an action movie with some drama thrown in to link the action sequences together. Neither drama nor action will work in this movie if the star of this movie can’t pull this off, considering that Olga Kurylenko is in virtually every scene of this movie, and after seeing the movie I honestly can’t imagine anyone else in the role. True enough Olga Kurylenko is tall and beautiful and can sport a leather trench like few others, but it only takes a few moments into this movie to see past her obvious beauty and only see a character in pain. It is the performances of both Kurylenko and Ninet Tayab and the relationship between the two women which carry this movie through.

The way the action was presented was good in the sense that the character of Galia never rose to level of some kind of super badass, at least not initially. The way that she was able to skate out of a few tight fixes was handled about as realistically as it could be handled, probably getting a little out of hand as the movie was nearing its conclusion. Plus there was nothing that bridged the gap between Galia the scared woman with a gun and Galia the ice cold assassin. It was almost as if it happened over night. There were other little bothersome things in this movie, things that tend to show up in action themed movies that are necessary to force the action in a certain direction in lieu of anything that actually makes sense, but we are going to casually ignore those for now.

Regardless, ‘Kirot’ was a very solid effort from all involved, especially the remarkable performance turned in by Olga Kurylenko. I think I like this Danny Lerner’s approach to filmmaking a little better than that other Danny Lerner but there will always be room in our hearts for a big stupid action flick.

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