Eastern Promises (Widescreen Edition)
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First of all, the script is outstanding. From the creator of another stunning film about London's "seamy underbelly," DIRTY PRETTY THINGS...the plot makes sense, the threads all come together and the characters are simply but sharply delineated. Yet at no time do I feel the themes are being spoon-fed. Also, some of the acts that are perpetrated on Viggo Mortensen's character near the end of the film are acts of amazing betrayal...yet if you haven't been paying attention, you might miss that. It's not a super-complex plot...but it doesn't grab you by the hand and lead you from place to place.
Speaking of Mortensen...this is his best performance ever. Granted, Aragon is crown-jewel, and he handled it well...but those films were events, such spectacle that often what he simply needed to do was wear his costume, ride his horse and look great. In EASTERN PROMISES, he has to make us care about a very nasty piece of work indeed. He's also very stony-faced...so much of what we learn about him, especially early on, comes from very subtle work. Again, each word of the script is perfectly chosen, and Mortensen digs deep here. He's not always my favorite actor...Read more ›
Perhaps it's the recent loss of her own child from a former lover, the time of year, or just her character in general, but Anne is deeply touched by the situation and vows to find the baby, who she's named Christina, a family and a decent life instead of institutionalized foster care. So she steps over the line and takes the mother's personal effects--a diary which is written in Russian.
Despite being warned not to dig any deeper by her Uncle Stepan, a recent Russian emigre and former KGB agent (Skolimowski) and her English mother (Sinead Cusack), she goes to the one place where she has a clue in English--a Russian restaurant called the Trans Siberian.
There she meets three men: Semyon (Mueller-Stahl), an older Russian who appears at first as a strong but benevolent father figure whose Borscht is almost identical to what Anne's own father used to make. Kirill (Cassel) a drunken and somewhat overdramatic heir to the throne and Nikolai (Mortenson) the very dispassionate driver for Kirill, who he's sworn a brotherly allegiance to.
At first, Semyon denies knowing anything about the mother of the deceased young woman, but his interest piques when Anne tells him there's a diary. He offers to translate the diary and find the child's family for her. Anne at first demurs, suspecting Semyon is Vory v Zakone (Russian mob) but he's very persuasive and she agrees to return the next night.Read more ›
The setting is London where lives the enigmatic Russian-born Nikolai Luzhin (Viggo Mortensen in an Oscar caliber performance) who serves as a driver for a cloaked mysterious Russian family, members of the Russian mafia called the Vory V Zakone, a bizarre brotherhood populated with men whose lives of crime are told in tattooed stories on their bodies. The head of the family is the elegant restaurateur Semyon (Armin Mueller-Stahl) whose son Kirill (Vincent Cassel) carries on the crime aspects of the family but shows no role of leadership in his dissipated life style. As the film opens we observe the birth of a little girl to a drug-addled mother Tatiana (Sarah-Jeanne Labrosse): she dies during childbirth having been delivered by a midwife Anna (Naomi Watts) who herself has a history of a stillborn child. Anna finds a diary in Tatiana's purse, saves it, and takes it to her uncle to translate it form the Russian. Opening the diary opens dark secrets for Semyon and Kirill: Tatiana was apparently one of the many illegal Russian prostitutes imported by the Vory V Zakone crime syndication and was raped by Semyon whose daughter was born as Tatiana died. Anna's investigation as to the baby's heritage includes the invaluable help of Nikolai who despite his past has a soft spot for Anna and her plight and it is the manner in which the interplay of Anna, Semyon, Kirill and Nikolai works out that brings the film to its conclusion.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Screenplay, story, acting, especially by Viggo Mortensen, kept me engaged beginning to end. Only disappointment was the ending which was too abrupt.Published 6 days ago by Cindy Ann Baskerville
Great cast, too predictable. Could have been an intriguing view of how the criminal world laps on to shore of the rest of the world. Instead it was lazy and trite. Read morePublished 23 days ago by Amazon Customer
Like Viggo, just happened across this one. Be ready for some unpleasant situations.Published 2 months ago by Ann M Bracey
An absolute waste of time and money. horrible script and plot. a boring, annoying, lousy movie. SHAME ON DAVID CRONENBERG!Published 2 months ago by Kevin Fell
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