Sunday, September 30, 2007

Eastern Promises (2007, David Cronenberg)

Pretty good genre film, but little more. Could have done without the plot device of the newborn baby, for one- Naomi Watts gives a solid performance, but I'm not sure an audience surrogate was altogether necessary here. Much more interesting is Cronenberg's portrayal of the cutthroat underworld of the Vory v zakone, ruled over by the sinister yet avuncular Semyon (the great Armin Mueller-Stahl), and the rise of driver Nikolai (Viggo Mortensen) in the Vory's ranks. Here's where the film's fascination lies, and whenever we step outside that world the interest flags. Likewise, I'm not sure I liked the plot revelations that occurred near the end of the film, but after the already famous naked fight scene I was willing to forgive quite a bit. Worth seeing, but something of a disappointment from Cronenberg. Rating: 6 out of 10.

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