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Thoughts on "Eastern Promises" . . .

Posted by 2 Dollar Productions Sunday, September 30, 2007

Worth A Matinee or Full-Price Ticket: Matinee. You won't be disappointed with a matinee ticket price, but the nighttime might tax this film a bit too strongly.

Will I Own It On DVD: Uncertain. I definitely won't buy this when it first arrives on DVD, however, I might pick it up if it goes on sale for $7.99 at Best Buy like some movies tend to do after awhile.


1) I consider this a solid companion piece to Cronenberg's recent "A History of Violence," and while I consider 'Violence' to be a superior film, "Eastern Promises" is still a worthwhile exploration into the Russian mob.

2) Viggo Mortensen gives an excellent performance as a driver for the Russians. His accent is spot-on as splits his speaking time between English and Russian, and he consistently projects a quiet authority throughout the film. Naomi Watts, who is a very good actress, is solid as always, although her character was a bit underdeveloped.


3) There is a brutal steam room fight scene with Mortensen that took balls - both literally and figuratively - to film as Viggo flops around while savagely battling rival mob enforcers. It's simply one of the best fight scenes outside of the Bourne movies that I've seen in years.


4) Like nearly all of Cronenberg's work, there is some fairly gruesome violence which can be off-putting for some people. I don't personally find it as disturbing as torture porn cinema (see "Saw" or "Hostel" for example), and the gory slashings fit well into the context of 'Promises.'

5) The main problem I had with 'Promises' was the ending was a bit flat as the tension builds nicely for a majority of the movie, but then it dissipates at the conclusion. This is always frustrating for me, and just proves once again how difficult endings are to get right and satisfy an audience.

Overall, "Eastern Promises" was a good movie to usher in the fall season, a time when the films generally get bloodier, more dramatic and better than anything near the empty vacuum which develops at the end of every summer.

-BDS

10 comments

  1. JLee Says:
  2. I'm a fan of both Viggo and Watts so I'm definitely going to check this out...

     
  3. No theatres here. I must decide whether to order this on PPV. My feeling is that youwould recommend $5 PPV?

     
  4. Jlee - Then you should like this one fairly well, especially if you care to see Viggo running naked & amok. Ha.

    Getoffmylawn - You're exactly correct - $5 sounds about perfect.

     
  5. I very much disliked A History of Violence and by your review of this movie, it seems a bit like AHOV, especially the way you describe the ending. I can skip this one now.

     
  6. Sure. If you didn't care for 'Violence' then you probably can skip this one too, but the ending in 'Violence' was pretty damn cool. William Hurt got an Oscar nomination for it, which consisted of roughly 10 minutes of screen time. Some people felt the overrall movie was simplistic, which I understand but the ending was sharp.

     
  7. Viggo.... ahhhhhhh.

    I thought a History of Violence was excellent - especially W.Hurt's small part. Is there something wrong with me?

     
  8. BostonPobble Says:
  9. My biggest problem here was the advertisments which claimed this was "the most anticipated movie of the season"...by whom?

    Anyway, I may check it out on dvd. Viggo... *drool*

     
  10. Anonymous Boxer - I agree 100% on 'Violence', and so did most critics as it got excellent reviews.

    Bostonpobble - I see that term thrown around very loosely for movies, books, etc. and I think the marketers simply hope that it's a self-fulfilling prophecy. As for whom, maybe Russian mob members?

     
  11. Linda Says:
  12. Good review, I agree on all points. The ending was so weak, and there was a point where they were fleshing out the Russian powerplay that I swear I nodded off. Too bad because the performances were great.

     
  13. Thanks, and I slo didn't find the main Russian mobster to be all that charming or intimidating. The ending simply felt tacked on.

     

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