Cronenberg Makes Eastern Promises

Amazing film, Cronenberg hits another home run. :up:
 
Okay, okay....I'm going this week at the AFI.
 
That was pretty hard core. :up:
Viggo was extremely convincing as this menacing, bad ass fellow
with a beautiful heart.
:heart:
 
Cronenberg does it again! Fantastic film with fantastic performances. The story was good, but the characters made the story very engaging and every actor turned out great performances.
 
It's a very good movie, but I feel that Steven Knight's script brings it down a little. He's telling basically the same story here that he told in Dirty Pretty Things, and I don't know that he really adds much, but Viggo, Watts, and Stahl sure do. In the end, it didn't blow me away like History of Violence or Videodrome, but it was a great and entertaining movie none the less.
 
yeah that was my biggest issue.....
when i saw the trailer i figured it gave it all away, so i never bothered to see it.
then came the oscar nomination and all the great reviews... so ok... i rented it.
and it was awful...


but i do have to admit... the gore was incredibly shot. i loved the violence..lol

:csad: :csad: :csad:
 
From my blog:

The title of Canadian auteur David Cronenberg's new film Eastern Promises may not sound very familiar to you. In fact, it may very likely sound like something you would go out of your way not to watch. There is a bland, generic sound to the title that is at complete odds with the exciting, challenging and hypnotic work lurking beneath. Yes, folks, we have us a winner and I've been appointed (Never mind by who!) to tell you that you owe it to yourselves to mark this one down on your "To See" lists. And hey, you get to see Aragorn is ways never before imagined (although perhaps fantasized by some...).

Eastern Promises follows a damaged midwife named Anna (the most luminous Naomi Watts), as she attempts to piece together the truth regarding a young girl's death. The girl, track-marked and filthy, dies in childbirth, leaving a healthy baby girl and a diary behind. She soon finds herself inside the Russian restaurant of Semyon (Armin Mueller-Stahl), a seemingly friendly old man, who is overly eager to take the diary of Anna's hands and provide her with a proper translation. Little to her knowing, Semyon is an extremely dangerous mob kingpin, and soon she finds herself involved not only with him, but also his disturbed son Kirill (Seymour Cassel) and stoic, quiet driver Nikolai (Viggo Mortensen). What follows brings dark secrets to light and incidents occur that alter the future of both Anna's family (Made up of her mother and Russian immigrant Uncle), and Semyon's.

I was not someone who was over the moon for Cronenberg's previous critical darling A History Of Violence. I felt that film strayed into Bizzaro-land half way through and never really ended on a satisfying note. Evidently, many disagree. Regardless, Eastern Promises is a completely satisfying cinematic experience. Cronenberg has taken a familiar genre and crafted something personal and stunningly elegant. To be sure, Promises is often stomach-churningly violent, with graphic bodily dismemberment and stabbings, but it is also beautiful to look at. Its dark hues and artistically seedy environments breathe their atmosphere onto the audience. We don't sit by as passive watchers, we feel this world. The credit for this has to go to Cronenberg and cinematographer Peter Suschitzky, who obviously weren't content to just tell a great story (written by Steven Knight) and ignore the visual details.

The tone of the film is also greatly refreshing. It isn't a particularly long film, but Cronenberg is no particular hurry. Now, maybe I'm alone, but I've found myself increasingly more impressed by films that just take their time and let us just spend time with the characters. Eastern Promises does this nicely, and we find ourselves as unwittingly pulled into the violent Russian underworld as Naomi Watt's character. It's seductive really, and a tribute to Cronenberg's faith in his story to just let the events happen without forcing the story ahead.

It's so refreshing to see a movie that tells not only a fascinating story, but fills it with brilliantly accomplished performances. In my last review, for Jodie Foster's The Brave One, I cited her and Terrence Howard's acting over the somewhat generic story. None of that here, thank you. Viggo Mortensen gives performance that, God willing, should easily place him on the award ballots at the end of the year. His mob driver, Nikolai, is a man of few words who says more through bodily gestures and looks than we initially realize. Mortensen also gives his character a frightening capacity for sudden violence that is stunning. There is a four minute fight scene in a Russian bath where he battles two armed thugs, wearing nothing but a body-ful of tattoos. Many actors would look uncomfortable or get giggles for fighting with their, er, hobbits, on full display, but Mortensen makes it scary and animalistic. He is also brilliantly strong in his scenes with each of the supporting actors. His scenes with Watts, in particular, are captivating in how they communicate the character's buried sensitivity and yearning for this damaged soul who symbolizes a glimmer of purity outside of the abyss he has become entangled in. Frankly, I'll be writing many a letter if Mortensen doesn't get an Oscar nod in the New Year. That's right! Many!

Also insanely award-worthy is Armin Mueller-Stahl. His sternly vicious mob boss Semyon is the most masterfully handled portrayal of this type since Marlon Brando stuffed his mouth full of cotton. Mueller-Stahl wonderfully mixes silent menace and grandfatherly friendliness to create a character we could almost love, if he wasn't such a complete bastard. And while, Cassel's and Mortensen's characters handle all the ugly stuff on-screen, it's Mueller-Stahl who disgusts us the most. He's a sick man in a never-ending struggle to maintain his dignity and reputation. He is disappointed beyond belief in his son, but realizes that he is all that is left to carry on his mantle. Mueller-Stahl makes us feel this man's pain and we understand why character's cling to this man's side. Semyon may be a monster, but he is a comforting paternal presence who truly understands what he is doing. It truly is dazzling work.

Naomi Watts is typically strong... Though I'm not sure if she has ever given anything less than A-quality efforts. She will likely be overlooked here, as her character is the entry point for the audience and thus lacks the eccentric flourishes of the other characters. Still, it's another triumph for an actress who is often taken for granted.

Also easy to look past is Vincent Cassel. Cassel has become such a master of playing sleazy dirtbags that we almost fail to recognize what he brings to this film. His character is the weakest of the central characters, and the one who realizes how lost he is in this world. It's all he knows, yet he is a loose cannon with little hope of ever being able to properly take his father's place. In several scenes, Cassel lets the bravado of the character crack apart and reveal the insecurity and deranged anger within. He's both frightening and pitiful, and Kirill is another worthy addition to the actor's rogues gallery of villains.

It's important to mention that Eastern Promises isn't as idea-packed as some of Cronenberg's previous works. Rather, it's a brilliant genre film as well as an incisive character piece. It gives all the thrills that come with the mobster flick territory, but manages to touch us a little deeper. It's a melancholy gem that is ambiguous and immersive. It's also one of the strongest films of the year.

My only complaint is that I wanted to spend more time with these people. Even if they are bloody and bare-ass naked.

4.5 out of 5
 
i really enjoyed the movie, viggo was amazing (even if i had to see his balls =( ) and naomi watts was excellent as well. i liked the story, i but i thought somethings might've been better developed.
 
lol. Last weekend at work, one of our female managers and female OC's kept running inside the movie to catch the shower scene. I think they ran in and saw it about three times that night. Those horny little women. :p

But anyway, this movie has a sort of Oscar-like vibe to it. It's definitely getting high recognition across the board.

-TNC
 
Britain's censors are getting heat for not cutting violent scenes.





***Minor Spoilers****
One of those scenes has a knife being twisted into a man's eye.
Another is a graphic slashing of throats.

*****************

Well, being a mob movie I don't see how anybody could not expect this kind of violence. Straw Dogs was decades ago. I mean, if 300 can have graphic butchery why should we have a pretense of civility in a crime drama? Maybe mob targets should be given a choice of death before they're killed? Swim with the fish, gunned down at a toll booth by assault rifles, or blade cuts? That way the audience can prepare for it. On Blu-discs, maybe viewers can have those choices available too?
 
Just watched it...Viggo was truly amazing...he totally nailed the accent. I really hope he gets a nomination because he truly deserves it. He outshined everyone in the film. My girlfriend guessed
the part about Viggo being a cop.
It was still executed quite well.


8/10
 
Having Russian background myself, I was really excited to see this movie and it didn't disappoint me. The acting was great (I even liked Watts), the characters were written and portayed very authentically.
Viggo was amazing, bus so was Vincent, whose Russian sometimes was better than Viggo's.
 
Brilliant movie. The ending felt a bit rushed, but the acting is top-notch. Hopefully Cronenberg and Mortensen will team up again. I also loved A History Of Violence.
 
Finally got around to buying this last night. Wow, what a great movie. One of the things I love the most about Cronenberg has been watching his evolution as a film maker.
 
This was definitely one of my favorite movies this year. The acting all around was top notch. I have such a crush on Naomi Watts.
 
I saw this one last week. Pretty good movie. I don't hold Viggo Mortensen in high regard as an actor but in this movie he was excellent. His accent wasn't as ridiculous as I thought when I first saw the trailer. The violence was cringe-worthy. Especially the sauna fight was just....hardcore.

The script was very weak though. The big ''revelation'' of Nikolai being a cop felt like such a cop-out. And I don't think the climax was very suspensefull either.
But it was a gritty little crime film. Tough as nails. Just not the ''masterpiece'' some people make it out to be. I think their judgement is clouded by their appreciation of Cronenberg. That happens all the time with others movies and directors.
 
I can't stress enough on how much I enjoyed Viggo in this. So amazing, the guy is all class.
 
I saw this one last week. Pretty good movie. I don't hold Viggo Mortensen in high regard as an actor but in this movie he was excellent. His accent wasn't as ridiculous as I thought when I first saw the trailer. The violence was cringe-worthy. Especially the sauna fight was just....hardcore.

The script was very weak though. The big ''revelation'' of Nikolai being a cop felt like such a cop-out. And I don't think the climax was very suspensefull either.
But it was a gritty little crime film. Tough as nails. Just not the ''masterpiece'' some people make it out to be. I think their judgement is clouded by their appreciation of Cronenberg. That happens all the time with others movies and directors.

Viggo was the epitomy of badass in this film. Loved him in this role!
 
Spoilers...

I wish Cronenberg would stop wasting his time and his talents on these lesser, almost mainstream films.

History of Violence played like Cronenberg-Lite, with a few of his consistant major themes peeking through an above average crime thriller.

This film, though, seems to have abbandoned any and all challenging or interesting ideas. And it's a shame, because it's well shot and well acted, but it ultimately does nothing for me. It's just a crime thriller. What little story there was reminded me of one of my favorite trashy direct to HBO movies, Stiletto Dance, where two men climb the ladder of the Russian mafia, doing a bunch of bad stuff, and one of them becoming as close as brothers with one of the head guys- only for it to be revealed that the two men are in fact undercover police before the third act of the movie. There's even a forbidden romance between the two leads, but since it was a late night HBO movie the woman spends 90% of her screen time naked. Man, is she hot. She has tatoos all over her body too. Okay, they are body paintings, but still. The sex in this movie is HOT. I think I'm going to go watch it...

Oh, right, Cronenberg. Eastern Promises.

So yeah, the film's production values are fantastic, and every bit as mind blowing as everyone has come to expect from the Cronie. Unfortunately, the story and depth- which have always been my favorite parts of Cronenberg films, inside out monkeys and Mugwumps and Tvs you have sex with aside- are just no where to be found. This film has the great performances and nifty iconic moments that all of his movies have- like everyone else has said, Naked tattoed knife fight in a spa room, but none of the other stuff to back it up.
 
Saw this last night, it's only the second movie of Cronenberg's Ive liked, It's a good thriller with a fantastic lead performance from Viggo, he completely loses himself in the enigmatic Nikolai. Naomi Watts was also superb, her English accent flawless, the rest of the support was also solid to good, except Casell who is a natural ******* but kinda overplayed it IMO.

The sauna fight was every bit as brutal as ppl said and did a great job of keeping you in the moment when it could have looked comical with a naked Viggo leaping around fighting.

I think there is potential for a sequel, to see how Nikolai develops to become the king and how he brings down the Vory.
 
I just watched this tonight, and it was a great film. I did not see that reveal coming at all. :wow:

That last shot of Viggo was just classic.
 
Saw this last night, it's only the second movie of Cronenberg's Ive liked, It's a good thriller with a fantastic lead performance from Viggo, he completely loses himself in the enigmatic Nikolai. Naomi Watts was also superb, her English accent flawless, the rest of the support was also solid to good, except Casell who is a natural ******* but kinda overplayed it IMO.

The sauna fight was every bit as brutal as ppl said and did a great job of keeping you in the moment when it could have looked comical with a naked Viggo leaping around fighting.

I think there is potential for a sequel, to see how Nikolai develops to become the king and how he brings down the Vory.

Umm, isn't she British? Maybe Australian, in which case is there really a difference? I mean I'm sure there is..but wow I'm just digging a hole.

Watched this movie this morning. Loved it, almost a bit too intense for me. But really well done. Very impressed with Viggo.
 

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