eastern promises

July 10, 2008

I have to say, the last time Mr. Snow and I watched a film by David Cronenberg, we swore never again. eXistenZ was body horror with a plot that neither of us got (maybe plots are not so important here?). I steered well clear of Crash but finally felt brave enough with Eastern Promises.

In this tale of Russian mafia in London, the gore is limited to a couple (!) of bloody assasination scenes. There are several larger-than-life characters, both the mafia boss and his driver, brilliantly played by Viggo Mortensen who really isn’t Russian at all. Naomi Watts plays the much more down-to-earth midwife who delivers the baby of a 14 year old Russian girl who was tied up with the crooks.

To be fair, there are a couple of things that didn’t quite gel, like all the baddies speaking to each other in heavily Russian-accented English, and the kingpin’s son, Kirill, played by Vincent Cassel whose character never seems to progress much beyond swigging booze right from the bottle. But while sometimes seeming to be a parody of itself, there are several great twists to the story (one of which Mr. Snow managed to guess) as well as a couple of heart-stopping moments (a bath house fight scene, anyone?) that made the film for me.

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