Thursday, 7 November 2013

The Assassin Next Door (2009)

A movie's title can really shape your expectations, especially if you know nothing else about it.  The title of The Assassin Next Door led me to expect a comic mob film in the style of The Whole Nine Yards. And that's really, really not the film it is.  I can see why they changed the name from the original Hebrew title of Kirot, since it wouldn't mean much to English-speaking audiences, but they really should have gone for something that didn't sound quite so 'light'.

Because this film is a drama, and not a terribly happy one.  There's an action sequence or two, but they are really not the focus, and - until the final, rather unlikely sequences of the film - they aren't glamorised in any way. 

The film follows two women; the first is a Ukrainian whose attempt to escape a life of prostitution impresses her mob handler enough that he offers her the choice of killing people for a living, instead.  The second is a young wife whose husband frequently beats her.  A grim look at domestic violence was not something I expected from the film when I sat down.

In any case, the two women become friends, and ultimately attempt to escape the lives that are slowly crushing them.  Of course, the men who've been abusing them (because the assassin is as much the victim of threats and violence as her neighbor) are not about to let them go without a fight.

So this was not at all the film I expected, but I am glad I picked it up.  Worth a look if the overall bleakness doesn't sound like a turn-off, to you.

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