“Anger is dangerous. It makes people do stupid things.”
– Nikolai Luzhin
SYNOPSIS: 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. – via IMDB
I have been meaning to watch this for ages (imagine that?!) and decided it was time to get it off my Neflix list so I could at least move on with my life, and I have always heard how good Viggo Mortensen is in this one. Well, let me tell you, he is hands down the best thing about this movie, that’s for sure. I know Mark, another instance where you and I aren’t seeing eye to eye 😦
I found Eastern Promises to be tonally uneven, and the story skipped around too much for my liking. Not artistically, either, just messy and contrived. There were moments in this where you could totally see how great it could have been. It dealt with a heavy story and had so much more potential than it ultimately went with. Like, there were moments I sat there and I was like “wow, this could have been phenomenal“, but the execution, off-key acting and everything just bogged it down.
I like Vincent Cassel, but he just didn’t nail this down properly, and came across as more awkward than anything. Armin Mueller-Stahl is also good, and does the sinister Russian mob boss just fine, what with a more understated portrayal. Naomi Watts just didn’t really work for me – she didn’t come across as sincere at all. But then, I find that to be the case with her more often than not. That brings me to Viggo Mortensen, and holy crap, he was fantastic here. I mean, the guy is a solid actor, and this outing from him highlights that about him once again. He can rise to the occasion, and looks like he did a lot of research for this role, and he comes across as authentic. He was well worth the watch, and made the movie worth watching.
The violence you see in this is not too frequent, and isn’t as crazy as some movies (I totally think that stupid fucking Saw franchise warped my concept of what is considered “violent” more than it was before that), and it pretty much all served a purpose, it wasn’t just random and there to be there.
Overall, I found Eastern Promises to be a movie that didn’t have the guts to go for glory, or just missed out on the vision. Not a terrible movie, but it is a rather flat affair all round, except for Mortensen, who really gets into his role of Nikolai.