Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Eastern Promises [2007]

Director: David Cronenberg
Cast: Viggo Mortensen, Naomi Watts, Vincent Cassel, Armin Mueller-Stahl
Genre: Drama/Thriller 
Rating: Adult (graphic violence, nudity, brief sexuality)
Comment: "After half a dozen of Guy Ritchie's over-the-top gangster flicks, this movie promises a very nice change of pace..."

Plot
Somewhere in London, the death of a 14-year-old in childbirth prompted a midwife, Anna Khitrova to look into it. Using only the girl's diary as guide, it led her to the local vory v zakone, the Russian mafia. Little that she knew her actions set off a chain of events that shake the very foundation of the Russian gangsters in London.

What to Expect
1. Realistic portrayal of Russian gangsters.
2. Viggo Mortensen's distinctive stoic persona.
3. An intriguing plot twist.

What NOT to Expect
1. Stereotypical gangster violence. (i.e. gunfights)
2. Comfortable to watch.
Review
It's hard to find a decent gangster flick these days. Not to discredit anyone, but I think after the fourth "remake" of Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels [1998] and not to mention dozens of movies about gangsta rappers fighting for territory, I think we could use a gangster movie that's more suave, and in the case of Eastern Promises, very clever too.


However that is not to say that this movie does not have its fair share of violence as well. It's just that, all of it are there for a reason, and they work for the plot instead of the other way around.


Another strong appeal of the movie is how Viggo Mortensen completely immersed himself into the role. Now, much of his work are unjustly overshadowed by his no-less brilliant performances as Aragorn in Peter Jackson's The Lord of the Rings film adaptations. In many ways, I think this movie is just as enjoyable as his best-known role as a sword-swinging heir to the throne. Personally I believe it's because Mortensen is a great actor who excels in character-driven roles. You should really see him become this three-dimensional character that's very much believable.

Not much can be said about a great movie. That is a good sign, after all; if you can't complain, that's because it's actually good.

I give this movie a well-earned A+.

2 comments:

John Connor said...

Mamu~
I've watched Eastern Promises after reading this entry...

Well, at first, I felt bored because, yeah, like u said, it's a damn realistic portrayal of Russian gangsters...

But then, as I got to the middle of it, I found myself being so into the movie... The plot got more exciting in slow pace manner...

I also agree about how great Viggo Mortensen is... "I'm just a driver"... Wow... He's so cool...

However, u forget to warn me about the language... I almost not understand what the hell are they talking...

Good movie!

Mamü Miguel Ellezda Vies said...

LOL... sorry about that. I guess I overlooked that language thingy by simply saying that it's realistic, that includes the language they speak.

But you're right, it could do with a bit of explanation.

You gotta agree though, that a cool, suave gangster movie is kind of better than gangster movies with too much gunfights, explosions and gratuitous violence.

This is a good example of one, it has that feel of a 70's gangster movie to it too.

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