DARKMATTERS - The Mind of Matt

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Sunday, October 28, 2007

Eastern Promises - review




Eastern Promises (18)

Dir. David Cronenberg

Reviewed by Matt Adcock


‘Every sin leaves a mark,’ so says the tag-line for this brutal contemporary peek into the seedy world of Russian organised crime in London. There’s plenty of sin to be found in Eastern Promises, plenty of sin and not a single piece of Fry’s Turkish Delight – which I’m beginning to doubt was ever as ‘full of eastern promise’ as the adverts led me to believe…
Anyway, this unhappy tale begins with a 14-year-old pregnant prostitute named Tatiana who collapses and dies in London hospital after giving birth. Attending nurse Anna (Naomi Watts) finds Tatiana’s diary and gets her Russian uncle to translate it in order to try and find a relative to take the baby. So far, so ever so slightly intriguing. Things get altogether uglier when the diary is found to chronicle the girl’s life of drugs, rape and prostitution, linked to a cartel of Russians. Anna then unwittingly puts herself in mortal danger by tracking down the mobster owner of a restaurant whose card is in its pages.
This also brings her into the paths of a dandy but dangerous hoodlum-about-town named Kirill (Vincent ‘Ocean’s 12 and 13’ Cassel) and his driver, Nikolai (Viggo ‘Lord of the Rings’ Mortensen) both of whom carry the film as long as you can forgive their terrible Russian accents. The central crux is whether Nikolai with choose to protect Anna or help in the execution of the baby and everyone who knows about the diary. Words like ‘quite implausible’ and ‘ bit simplistic’ kept popping into my head whilst watching and the quality cast are quickly wasted on the dubiously meandering and slow burning to the point of dullness storytelling.
Overall Eastern Promises is vaguely disappointing, all the more so because director Cronenberg’s last film ‘A History of Violence‘ was a stunning, exciting pulp masterpiece. Whilst ‘History of Violence’ grabbed you and rattled you with a constant stream of twists and upping of the ante, here you’ll most likely have seen the clichéd ending coming from a mile away and be hard pressed to care.The only really remarkable scenes are some of especially vicious violence (graphic throat cutting a speciality) and a bizarre naked showdown that sees Nikolai trying to knife fight two hit men in the buff. There’s little else to mark this out unless you have a thing for heavily tattooed Russian hard men or are really hankering for lightweight moral dilemma set against a murky London underbelly.

Out of 5 you have to go with a 2.5 (average not amazing)...

Darkmatters ratings:
Action öö – Insufficient but shocking when it kicks off
Laughs öö – The accents are funny!
Horror ööö –Some seriously nasty deaths
Babes ööö – Watts is pretty delicious

Overall öö1/2 (could called 'a lesser history of violence')


"Yesszz, we will hav to hav thiz Matt silencided az he didn't like our film..."

Darkmatters: H O M E
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