Eastern Promises

We have a rarity here, folks.  This is a review of a non-horror film (*gasp*).  Fret not; I won't make a habit out of dissecting dramas, but obviously, an exception has been made for David Cronenberg.  If you're just joining us, I'm in the middle of a tract where I take a look at, let's say, five of the catawampus Canadian's films.  2007's Eastern Promises couldn't be any further from my wheelhouse. Naomi Watts plays Anna, a nurse who comes into the possession of a diary.  The journal belonged to a pregnant teenager who had been admitted because of blood between her legs.  Get your vagina out of the gutter.  She went into labor, you petulant debauchee.

The baby survived.  The teenager died.  Christ everlasting, I better expedite this plot summary.  I'll write a novel if I'm not careful.  In any event, through a tragic set of circumstances, Anna becomes embroiled with the Russian mafia.  Despite being one-fourth Italian, I've never been interested in mobster movies.  You know me.  I'm all about monster movies, son!  Yeah!  Most nights, I cry myself to sleep!  Sarcasm?!?!?  Dom cleared his throat and stared at the wall for thirteen muted minutes.  "I have to finish this goddamn review," he muttered.  After a quaff of Vanilla Coke, he returned to typing. Alone.

First thing's first.  The cast is authentic and infallible.  Viggo Mortensen (the handsome bastard) gives a cool, reserved performance as a "driver."  At one point, we see his schmeckel. Y'know, his bald-headed yogurt slinger.  "Move on," he pressured himself.  It goes without saying that Naomi Watts is tone-attentive. She's just excellent in, like, everything.  Vincent Cassel is convincing as an unfeeling prig, not that I'm implying he's a jerk in real life.  His character, Kirill, does have layers and turns into a three-dimensional person as Promises progresses.  Steven Knight's script is brilliant in the way it dilates each player's role in the grand scheme of shit.

The narrative is rather complex, but it's easy to follow.  Again, the script...it's so well-structured, that at times, you don't realize how much is happening (it's worth noting that A LOT is happening). Eastern Promises would certainly appeal to genre fans on the power of its violence, which is grisly and bestial.  There is no gore in the traditional sense.  Well, I take that back.  You will notice a couple of slit throats as graphic as a user interface.  I haven't recounted the social commentary because that's typically not my style, but trust me, it exists.  This is a very weighty, emotional picture. He lost his nerve for a breath, not knowing how to bring the review to a close.

"C'mon, dumbass.  Just get out of there.  Get the hell out of there!"

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