a sybarite in paradise
reviewing the food & entertainment pleasures of Honolulu
Eastern Promises is a excellent gangster genre film. It’s moody and stylistic and extremely violent in smallish spurts, with one exception. The script is as predictable as Michael Clayton was, but ultimately more successful at rising above the material.
The film’s look and mood sets the tone very well. It’s a broody contemplation on the Russian mob in London. Viggo Mortensen is excellent as mob boss’ son’s driver Nikolai. Namoi Watts is also excellent as Anna a midwife who is trying, through a diary, to find family for a baby she delivered who’s Russian mother died on the delivery table. Armin Mueller-Stahl is wonderfully complex as Semyon, the boss. Vincent Cassel plays Kirill, Semyon’s son and heir to the throne. He’s a tightly wound loose canon, ready to go off at any point. The script walks the fine line between him looking up to Nikolai for his talents and being in love with him. There are very intimate moments with Nikolai consoling Kirill where I thought a kiss was coming. We’re never sure whether the rumors about Kirill are true.
What really made me like this film was how it didn’t over-explain everything. It just presented a story in bits and pieces and left it at that. The ending is satisfying even though all the ends are not tied up and you’re left with a bunch of questions. They let you finish the story.  
I’m so glad it’s fall and we’re getting some seriously good movies.
Wednesday, October 17, 2007
Eastern Promises