A heady mix of crime caper, neon dazzle, and American-ized dreams, all topped with a generous nod to movies like “Magic Mike” and “Showgirls,” Zaida Bergroth’s ambitious “Miami” appears to be taking the “stripper movie” into an entirely new direction. The filmmaker’s third feature — following festival favorites “The Good Son” and “The Last Cowboy Standing” — turns her keen eye for fraught familial relationships to something new: sisters.
“Miami” follows the glamorous Angela (Krista Kosonen), who arrives in a tiny Finnish town armed with her exotic dancer pals and her dazzling personality, only to get mixed up with some bad dudes after the show is over (one gets the sense that Angela is always just one big scrape away from disaster). Angela hightails it out of town, armed with a brand-new sidekick: her shy half-sister Anna (Sonja Kuittinen), who she lovingly teaches her craft.
But even Anna’s newfound adoration for both her sister and dancing can’t save the pair when some thugs come to collect a huge debt from Angela, forcing the sisters to saddle up and hit the road, not just for fun, but in actual fear for their lives. That’s when whipsmart Anna comes up with a plan, one that could save the duo or lead to even more ruin. The result is a lush, inventive thriller that appears to combine equal parts glitz and mayhem, with a whole lot of sequins to boot.
As Bergroth explains in the film’s official press materials, “Miami” is “built around the one question that has puzzled my mind: How to love a dazzling and empowering but at the same time irresponsible and dangerous person? Angela, the charismatic big sister, makes Anna, her timid little sister bloom. But when Anna sees the dangerous side of Angela she must make her decision, either give herself up to Angela’s naive world or to choose the mature adulthood and responsibility, though the latter would mean losing this new source of her happiness.” What side will Anna choose?
Check out our official trailer for “Miami” below.
“Miami” will have its international premiere later this month at TIFF.