Miami International Film Festival: Review of Patxi Amézcua's 25 Carat

Born into the itinerant life of a con artist, Kay (Aida Folch) is a sexy but street-tough young woman who has helped her father, Sebas (Manuel Morón), run scams since she learned to walk. For years, they've lived off small scores, skipping from one city to the next across Spain. But after 16 months in Barcelona, Kay and Sebas have begun to settle into a routine: She steals cars while he fences jewelry. It's almost normal.

Then, suddenly, Mexican gangsters return to collect an overdue debt. Sebas begins plotting a big job that involves a crew of crooked cops, a large bag of stolen jewels, an incriminating videotape, and a cable news network. Meanwhile, Kay gets caught stealing a BMW and escapes only with the help of Abel (Francesc Garrido), a fighter. Together, all three then chase the most monumental score of their lives.

Written and directed by first-time Spanish filmmaker Patxi

Amézcua, this action thriller is more conventional than many of the

other movies at this year's festival. In tone and style, 25 Carat draws from similar genre films such as Luc Besson's The Professional and Tom Tykwer's Run Lola Run. However, Amézcua delivers his story with full knowledge of its sources, so it never seems derivative. Not to mention, 25 Carat

is plotted so tightly, edited with such energy, and acted so deftly

that it pays off in almost every way. It even has a happy ending. More

or less.

March 8 at 7 p.m. and March 14 at

4 p.m., Regal Cinemas South Beach, 1120 Lincoln Rd., Miami Beach;

305-674-6766. And March 13 at 7 p.m. Tower Theater, 1508 SW Eighth St.,

Miami; 305-642-1264.

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