Pic's human-interest poignancy is overpowered by over-the-top bloodshed.

Two Tel Aviv women become friends as a buffer against male violence in “Kirot,” Israeli writer-helmer Danny Lerner’s sophomore feature (after “Frozen Days”). Given all the onscreen battering, it’s impossible not to root for the louts to get theirs, but ultimately, the pic’s human-interest poignancy is overpowered by over-the-top bloodshed. Perhaps too much a blunt crime meller for arthouse markets, it should export well as a smallscreen item.

Forced into prostitution abroad, Ukrainian Galia (Olga Kurylenko, “Quantum of Solace”) makes a run for it, but she’s captured and her even less lucky companion killed. Desperate to see the daughter she left behind back home, Galia is promised her passport and money if she carries out an underworld hit. That accomplished, bosses still keep delaying her freedom; meanwhile, she befriends neighbor Elinor (Ninet Tayeb), a native Israeli regularly berated and beaten by her husband. Teasing frisson of same-sex attraction leads nowhere, but the tale drives right over the edge of lurid thrillerdom in a shoot-‘em-up finale shrilly scored by Nathaniel Mechaly. Perfs are solid, tech/design aspects OK but uninspired; pacing could be tightened a whit.

Kirot

U.S.-France-Israel

Production

A Bleiberg Entertainment (U.S.)/DPI (France)/United King Films (Israel) production. (International sales: Bleiberg Entertainment, Beverly Hills.) Produced by Ehud Bleiberg, Yoav Ze'evi, Edouard Douek. Executive producers, Moshe Edery, Leon Edery. Co-producers, July-August Prods., Michael Bischoff. Directed, written by Danny Lerner.

Crew

Camera (color), Ram Shweky; editors, Tal Keller, Yves Beloniak; music, Nathaniel Mechaly; production designer, Shunit Aharoni. Reviewed at Toronto Film Festival (City to City), Sept. 13, 2009. Russian, English, Hebrew dialogue. Running time: 107 MIN.

With

Olga Kurylenko, Ninet Tayeb, Vladimir Fridman, Liron Levo, Zohar Strauss.

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