Tale of a cabbie and a good-time girl caught up in a gang war starts out steady but quickly accelerates.

A cracking slice of genre filmmaking that nods to vintage Michael Mann and Martin Scorsese as well as the new generation of Latin American filmmakers, “The Blood and the Rain” unfolds over one night on the mean streets of Bogota, Colombia. Tale of a cabbie and a good-time girl caught up in a gang war starts out steady but quickly accelerates to produce a tense, wham-bam climax. Handled right, the pic could have slender, shapely legs offshore, and at very least rep an impressive calling card for Colombian writer-helmer Jorge Navas, who’s made docus, commercials and musicvids.

Grieving for his dead brother and thinking of revenge, taxi driver Jorge (Quique Mendoza) picks up coke-addled barfly Angela (Gloria Montoya) but has an accident just after dropping her off. Angela takes Jorge to the hospital and ends up tagging along as he investigates his brother’s murder and prepares to meet the probable killers later that night. Compelling pace and strong perfs help gloss over the script’s minor faultlines. Strong sense of Bogota as a place reps a major plus, even though the plot is eminently remake-friendly. Tech credits are solid throughout.

The Blood and the Rain

Colombia-Argentina

Production

A Efe-X, E-Nnovva/RCN Films, Pato Feo Films (Columbia)/LagartoCine (Argentina) production, with support of the Hubert Bals Fund, the Sundance Institute, FDC. (International sales: Rezo Films, Paris.) Produced by Jorge Navas. Executive producers, Julian Giraldo, Wilson Gomez, Carolina Barrera, Hugo Castro Fau. Directed by Jorge Navas. Screenplay, Navas, Carlos Henao, Alize Le Maout.

Crew

Camera (color, widescreen), Juan Carlos Gil; editor, Sebastian Hernandez; music, Sebastian Escofet; art director, Jaime Luna. Reviewed at Venice Film Festival (Venice Days), Sept. 11, 2009. Running time: 109 MIN.

With

Gloria Montoya, Quique Mendoza, Hernan Mendez, Julio Cesar Valencia, Weimar Delgado, Juan Miguel Silva. Spanish dialogue.

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