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The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

Movie Review-Eastern Promises

Viggo Mortensen and Naomi Watts star in the violent film Eastern Promises, which is a thriller mystery with cat-and-mouse turns.  Photo courtesy Focus Features
Viggo Mortensen and Naomi Watts star in the violent film Eastern Promises, which is a thriller mystery with cat-and-mouse turns. Photo courtesy Focus Features

By Sara Pintilie/entertainment editor

Viggo Mortensen and Naomi Watts star in the violent film Eastern Promises, which is a thriller mystery with cat-and-mouse turns.  Photo courtesy Focus Features
Viggo Mortensen and Naomi Watts star in the violent film Eastern Promises, which is a thriller mystery with cat-and-mouse turns. Photo courtesy Focus Features

David Cronenberg brings movie violence to the same level as his History of Violence in the stunning crime drama Eastern Promises.

The film’s plot revolves around a simple catalyst, a diary, but with this piece of literature, an intriguing society of characters materializes.

When a young pregnant Russian dies, her midwif tts) comes into temporary possession of her diary.
All is well until Anna goes to the wrong Russian to translate the journal.

Her translator, Semyon (Shine’s Armin Mueller-Stahl), is an active member of Vory V Zakone, a notorious criminal brotherhood.

And to make matters worse, the diary holds incriminating secrets about Semyon and his volatile son, Kirill (Derailed’s Vincent Cassel).

Semyon sends the mysterious Nikolai (LOTR’s Viggo Mortensen) to keep the issue quiet, but nothing, of course, is what it seems.

I hate using that cliché, but the film is a perfect example of how to do it brilliantly.

The whole movie has a cat-and-mouse aspect, but the audience can’t trust their judgment on who is the cat or the mouse.

They find themselves sympathizing with the believed villains from time to time.

The harrowing elegance of the film laces the characters together and makes them pop against the dismal English backdrop.

Mortensen gives his all and it shows.

This powerhouse performance should be a contender for the Oscar. He brings a subtle intensity to his character and says a lot even without speaking.

Cassel holds his own against Mortensen and does a great job playing Kirill.

Mueller-Stahl is also a great addition to the cast.

The only person I thought could have done better was Watts. She seems to just be there. She keeps getting pushed into the background and cannot hold a candle to Mortensen or Cassel.

The movie seeps under the skin and keeps the audience enthralled as the plot builds all the elements together to their greatest potential.

Sure, the movie drags once or twice, but the end result is totally worth the ticket price.

The one problem I can see people will have with the film is the excessive amount of bloodshed, sexuality and nudity.

The violence is brutal, and this is probably the most violent movie I have seen since, well, History of Violence.
But Cronenberg handles the brutality with sensitivity.

So though it is hard to watch at times, the violence still holds a poetic importance to the film.

The audience doesn’t get turned off by the bloodshed and doesn’t write off the film as a senseless violent flick. The sexuality and nudity come with the territory but are in the movie for only a brief time.

For the non-queasy, Eastern Promises is a great movie to check out this weekend.

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