Set during one night in a Madrid portrayed as an urban hellhole, “Cat Kisses” is a nicely shot but heavy-handed moral fable that feels like the product of hours spent over the thriller rulebook. Featuring a a skilled central perf by Juanjo Puigcorbe, pic’s trite message and made-for-TV air of implausibility fatally weaken its foundations. “Cat” should purr along at home but is unlikely to provoke many meows offshore.
Carlota (Leticia Dolera) distresses her bickering lawyer parents, Fran (Juanjo Puigcorbe) and Elvira (Lola Marceli), when she does not return home one night. Her lazy brother, Toto (David Carrillo), says she’s with her punk boyfriend, so Fran takes off to look for her. A boxer at college, Fran beats up practically everybody he meets, and, in a low-life journey with Carlota to find her missing b.f., he confronts dodgy figures from his past (Ruth Gabriel, Jose Sancho), plus nasty truths about himself. The more pic aims for gritty realism, however, the less plausible it becomes, with dialogue rarely more than hard-boiled cliches. Several local stars cameo in minor roles.