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The Wonder of the Cinema

#3 Eastern Promises

Eastern Promises- Viggo Mortensen and Naomi Watts star in this film by director David Cronenberg.  Cronenberg has produced some of the strangest sci-fi out there: eXistenZ, The Fly, Videodrome, and Naked Lunch.  So Eastern Promises seemed to be a departure.  “A Russian teenager living in London who dies during childbirth leaves clues to a midwife in her journal that could tie her child to a rape involving a violent Russian mob family.” from IMDB.com  

I have seen this film before and was warned about the “fight scene in the steam bath” which was as brutal as I remember.  However, perhaps because I knew the outcome of the story Eastern Promises didn’t hold up as well on a second viewing.  The twists were somehow flat.  The movement of the plot lethargic.  It’s still a good film, just not a great film.

Interestingly Mortensen was nominated for an Oscar in 2008 for best actor.  However, he lost to Daniel Day-Lewis in There Will Be Blood.  This accent, physicality and the body art make his performance worth seeing.  This film is filled with good acting.  Naomi Watts is solid in every film I’ve seen her in(and is under utilized in my opinion), and she does not disappoint here.  Vincent Cassel, after he came to the wide notice of American audiences in Ocean’s Twelve (2004), is solid as a mob princeling.  The best performance is from another oscar nominee, Armin Mueller-Stahl.  He is best known for his best supporting nominated role in 1996’s Shine or perhaps for 1992’s The Power of One.

This film is worth seeing… just be ready for a slow trip through the Russian mob punctuated by moments of bloody knife violence.

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About Rob Sterner

English teacher, Film buff, Filmmaker, Writer, Musician, Photographer, Runner, Taoist, Thinker, List maker...

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