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Eastern Promises

 
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Eastern Promises - 22/10/2007 10:15:16 AM   
Empire Admin

 

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Post #: 1
5 star film! - 22/10/2007 10:15:16 AM   
jimibadboi7

 

Posts: 107
Joined: 7/12/2006
Nonsense... Eastern Promises is easily one of..if not THE finest film of 2007 so far... Great story, powerhouse acting and direction! Evidently you can't trust someone called Dorian to have good taste!

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Post #: 2
Film of the year - 22/10/2007 10:35:02 PM   
shadyboy

 

Posts: 2
Joined: 2/10/2005
Have to agree with jimibadboi7 - this is easily one of the films of the year. Dorian I'm sorry but you are talking out of your arse with that review...
Viggo and Cronenberg in with a shout of oscar nominations for this one after getting shat on with "History"...

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Post #: 3
Film of the year - 22/10/2007 10:35:03 PM   
shadyboy

 

Posts: 2
Joined: 2/10/2005
Have to agree with jimibadboi7 - this is easily one of the films of the year. Dorian I'm sorry but you are talking out of your arse with that review...
Viggo and Cronenberg in with a shout of oscar nominations for this one after getting shat on with "History"...

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Post #: 4
One of the years best films - 25/10/2007 10:07:05 AM   
SMP33

 

Posts: 17
Joined: 28/9/2007
From: Oxford...England
I really enjoyed watching "Eastern Promises".It was a gripping and violent film with a great perfomance from Viggo Mortensen and excellent direction from David Cronenberg.

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Post #: 5
- 25/10/2007 1:48:14 PM   
tbird


Posts: 4118
Joined: 10/10/2005
From: the cupboard under the stairs
I must disagree with the Empire review of this movie. I wasn't disappointed at all. Again, Cronenberg has made another beautiful and brutal film that is thought provoking and astounding in both its simplicity and intricacies.

Viggo Mortensen and Naomi Watts both shine in their roles, but for me it was Armin Mueller-Stahl who was a revelation, portraying a character so charismatic yet repellant that he completely captivated me with every look and gesture and word.

The fight scene in the bath house (which I'm sure will become one of the most memorable scenes in cinema history) was visceral yet almost balletic in places; the lack of music heightening the emotion and rawness of simple survival. Without a doubt the scene proves that Cronenberg has lost none of his power when it comes to portraying the honest brutality of violence, even now he’s entered the more mainstream field of filmmaking.

There were only a few minor niggles I had with the film (the voice over narration from Tatiana's diary being one, and the abrupt "happy ending" being the other), but they hardly detract from what is essentially a taut and totally captivating thriller.

Overall, a brilliant film and a worthy follow up to the excellent A History Of Violence. Now I just can't wait until the next Cronenberg masterpiece.

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Post #: 6
- 25/10/2007 1:48:15 PM   
tbird


Posts: 4118
Joined: 10/10/2005
From: the cupboard under the stairs
I must disagree with the Empire review of this movie. I wasn't disappointed at all. Again, Cronenberg has made another beautiful and brutal film that is thought provoking and astounding in both its simplicity and intricacies.

Viggo Mortensen and Naomi Watts both shine in their roles, but for me it was Armin Mueller-Stahl who was a revelation, portraying a character so charismatic yet repellant that he completely captivated me with every look and gesture and word.

The fight scene in the bath house (which I'm sure will become one of the most memorable scenes in cinema history) was visceral yet almost balletic in places; the lack of music heightening the emotion and rawness of simple survival. Without a doubt the scene proves that Cronenberg has lost none of his power when it comes to portraying the honest brutality of violence, even now he’s entered the more mainstream field of filmmaking.

There were only a few minor niggles I had with the film (the voice over narration from Tatiana's diary being one, and the abrupt "happy ending" being the other), but they hardly detract from what is essentially a taut and totally captivating thriller.

Overall, a brilliant film and a worthy follow up to the excellent A History Of Violence. Now I just can't wait until the next Cronenberg masterpiece.

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Post #: 7
- 26/10/2007 1:36:17 PM   
nbula.rising

 

Posts: 1
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Possible the best thing Viggo Mortensen has ever done. One of the best films I've seen in years

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Post #: 8
- 27/10/2007 7:46:47 PM   
casino


Posts: 206
Joined: 26/5/2006
This film is a masterpiece i loved it. viggo's acting was brilliant. you must see this film

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Post #: 9
RE: - 27/10/2007 11:25:24 PM   
kenada_woo


Posts: 1668
Joined: 30/9/2005
Just come back from watching it so here's my two pence.

Being a Cronenberg fan I was looking forward to see what he can do with the gangster genre, a favourate genre of mine.  I was hoping he could either freshen it up and bring his stamp over it or keep it simple but interesting and complex.

What you get really is a straight forward gangster film dealing with Russian maffia with a hint of trademark undercurrent of the directors stamp...but not much. 

Complex depth to the characters, interesting ideas, characters mind states, symbolism of changes and manifestation are what you get in all/most of Cronenberg's films to make them unique.  Eastern Promises doesnt have any of this.  What you have is a Cronenberg's non-flinching portrayal of violence and very little else regarding his trademarks.  Add to this a plot that begins shockingly and has you hooked seems to wonder from time to time and looses its intrigue somewhat.  What could've been Mortenson getting pulled deep into a scary underworld, changing he is  etc, what you get is a diary that connects the characters but none of which are really arsed about sorting the problem out.  Things just seem to plod along at a slow pace with no real urgency.  Add to this a happy clean cut ending that didnt sit right with me.

Now this would be fine if only there were some unique Cronenberg styled depth to the characters which is disappointingly missing from the film.  This is a shame being that there are some great performances and startling scenes, which have been mentioned in the above posts - Mortenson is just an abosolute bad-arse and the infamous bathroom fight is nasty, mainly down to Viggo's nakedness and what seemed to be lack of stuntman/padding. 

Overall, while there are some standout moments and great subtle acting that holds the film together, the plot and story are fairly standard genre fair.  Its fairly predicatable if you're a fan of the gangster genre which is a let down with Cronenberg at the helm who could've blasted freshness and originality into this type of film.

***/*****   

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- 28/10/2007 1:11:35 AM   
CameronJames


Posts: 570
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From: Mansfield
At best, a really good ITV1 mid week drama with added violence. Not a cinema story really.

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Post #: 11
RE: Eastern Promises - 28/10/2007 1:14:30 PM   
westsider

 

Posts: 64
Joined: 5/12/2006

Though I loved A History of Violence and had been looking forward to this for weeks, I have to admit that Empire got it right: Eastern Promises is a disappointment.
 
The main problem is with the script, which is overly simple and weakened by basic implausibility. The story develops along excessively obvious lines, leaving its one real surprise until too late, and making little of it when it arrives. Also, despite the violence of the film, it generates little real suspense, and its ending is particularly weak.
 
Worse still, the ethnic exoticism of the immigrant gangsters feels stilted and unreal. Though the Russianness is laid on thick throughout, it never convinces, and there are a number of creative misjudgements that further undermine the film’s authenticity; the worst of these being a voice-over from the dead girl in which she waxes poetic about her family being “buried under the soil of Russia”: this is just not how 14 year-old girls express themselves.

Not Cronenberg's best then, and well short of the quality of A History of Violence.

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Post #: 12
RE: Definally want to see this movie! - 28/10/2007 10:07:52 PM   
Dready


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From: Maidstone Toon!
I really enjoyed it. Loved the violence which was very graffic when it did happen. Also it was quite amusing in places. I liked the fact it was a gangster film with a difference, ie Russian. I loved A History Of Violence and this didnt dissapoint either. 4/5

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RE: Definally want to see this movie! - 29/10/2007 1:45:23 PM   
princessa


Posts: 734
Joined: 6/6/2006
I thought it was okay - not too bad.  The plot was alittle thin i felt.  What held the film together for me were the performances.  Vincent Cassell, Armed Mueller-Stahl, Noami Watts were good but Viggo Mortensen shines as the mysterious Viktor.

I liked the plot twist at the end and being sentlemental at heart i loved the ending. 

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RE: Definally want to see this movie! - 29/10/2007 9:02:18 PM   
doncopey1


Posts: 5002
Joined: 29/11/2005
From: Liverpool: Age 25
A huge fan of Cronenberg and i'm always intrigued when he brings a new film out as he along with Lynch are the two most unique directors working today. On the whole the film isn't a masterpiece and while it isn't as good as A History of Violence its perhaps more interesting.
This is a powerful unique story and for once we're witnessing a gangster story that isn't cockney, Itallian or Irish packed, the Russian spin on the genre is a fine relief, and Cronenberg's casting is superb. Mueller-Stahl's performance was perfectly balanced a fine combination of Brando's Godfather and Sorvino's Pauli in Goodfellas, he lies somewhere in between. Cassell desrcibed by Empire as imitating a Joe Pesci role which totally wasn't true, in fact the notion is stupid, Cassell's character has depth and menace in him, his drunken annoying pedarist is an interesting character and Cassell never leans into a performance which may have easily gone over the top like we see in so many of these roles. Watts is excellently cast, i looked for tweaks in her performance but mostly in her accent, but she nails it on the head. I wasn't too fond with the biker chick image i think maybe to coincide with her rebellious character which is fair enough. No doubt that Mortenson is the best thing in it, he is cool and calculated and has a chilling prescense about him.
The plot is well formulated and has a good basis but i think it runs out of steam in the second hour of the picture, and whilst the narrative is nicely tied up i still feel it loses slight ground.
The cinametography and the use of props were stunning, as was a well compiled score, one major quarrell was Cronenberg not taking advantage of his aesthetics, London could have been gloriously set within the foreground but instead only brief moments of the brilliance London was offered.
Overall a throughly enjoyable, well paced gangster feature with moments of un-flinching violence to add to what is a fine addition to this ever expanding genre. (4/5)


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Post #: 15
eastern promises - 29/10/2007 9:07:39 PM   
moviemaniac2


Posts: 525
Joined: 17/9/2006
Eastern Promises is a gritty, dark affair, delivered with such panache by Cronenberg that it's easy to forgive the odd mob cliches that pop up every now and then. Mortensen is cooler than cool as the tattooed Nikolai, an ambitious and mysterious killer working his way up the underworld ladder, and he's matched by Cassel, whose twitchiness rivals Joe Pesci at his best.


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Post #: 16
RE: - 30/10/2007 5:27:40 PM   
Castor Troy


Posts: 7076
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From: Rocky's graveside
quote:

ORIGINAL: CameronJames

At best, a really good ITV1 mid week drama with added violence. Not a cinema story really.


I'll go along with that. I thought the talent involved was far better than the story deserved, which was pretty boring. The best bit was Viggo's naked fighting.


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Post #: 17
RE: RE: - 31/10/2007 8:56:45 AM   
MartinBlank76


Posts: 1306
Joined: 7/10/2005
A new Cronenberg film, which means, yet again, another film that promises much and delivers a good, solid picture with some standout moments that belong in a much better film. Its getting so I am writing virtually the same review for every film that he makes. On the the plus side this here had me involved the whole way through and Cronenbourg does enjoy filming violence in a way that always causes a sharp intake of breath followed by nervous laughter from the cinema audience but it also suffers from being never more than the sum of its parts. A lot more slow burning than I thought it was going to be and if it wasnt for the excellent cast it may have dragged because of this. Overall, nothing special but as with all his films definitely worth watching if just for the turkish bath sequence alone.

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RE: RE: - 31/10/2007 8:01:55 PM   
Piles


Posts: 5545
Joined: 6/8/2007
From: Whalley Range

I went to see this film earlier and I have to say... I was impressed.

Viggo Mortensen is absolutely fantastic in this, possibly one of the best things he has ever made. A History Of Violence got the award-touts, Lord of the Rings got the great box office score, and it doesn't look like this will get either. However, that shouldn't fool you, because this is as fine of a film as any of the aforementioned four, and definitely as fine of a performance from Viggo himself. His emotionless exterior causes the film to dive deep into his inner psyche, churning out parts of his personality in fractions. It's good that his progression is not an all-at-once occurence and you can't really tell when he changes from one mood to another, it is actually a progression, a sliding scale of human emotion that incorporates every feeling imaginable (and unimaginable) to the audience.

Vincent Cassel is a strange cookie in this one. Initially, you feel he isn't getting the part at all. His pole dance to Liberty X's Sexy (why would russian gangsters listen to Liberty X???!) is the only really cringeworthy (in a bad way) part of the film, and he plays the worse drunk I've ever seen. However, after a couple of revelations about the heir to the thrown, kicking off a downward spiral that sends him toward alcoholism, you realise that he was born to play the second half of the film, if maybe not the first. Naomi Watts was born to play the love exchanges with Viggo, but her serious dramatic side does leave a little bit to the imagination. But they are really just playing second fiddle to Viggo Mortensen, and you can really let go any shortcomings they have because the pros definitely (and easily) outweigh the cons.

The story is excellent. And allthough Empire is probably right that it is issue-driven, I think that it works because of that. You can't really have a film that relies so heavily on people-trafficking without sending out a message about it. Aside from the issues, you have an excellent story - full of enough twists and turns to keep the viewer guessing. According to taste, this could be regarded as a modern masterpiece and maybe even sneak into a few top 100 lists, and as far as Cronenberg goes? It's another fine addition to an already impressive resume.


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Post #: 19
RE: RE: - 31/10/2007 8:31:23 PM   
Sway


Posts: 9085
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From: Albuquerque
Good God. Just wrote out a huge review and wireless cut out on me.  Guess I'll have to shorten it.

Ok, so I loved this movie. To me it was a little more exotic than other movies out there right now (the title alone conjures up exotic images), and it did seem like fresh subject matter but which was quite believeable. Personally I'm biased as I'm mad for those crazy Ruskis having studied a lot of Russian history at uni, but I genuinely loved the set up of this Russian mafia style hierarchical mob within the film, and how a lot of the drama was played out around the family restaurant. I loved the element of histories, family loyalties and connections that underlined the story.

Naturally Viggo Mortensen was fantastic in his role, presenting us with one of the most brutal, realistic looking fights ever set to screen. The fact he was stark bollock naked made it all the more brutal to watch. His character, was arguably, the epitome of what one might describe as exotic. He was dark, brooding, mysterious, visibly intelligent, loyal (when needs be for certain purposes), all topped off with that crazy accent. However I think more needs to be said of Vincent Cassel who also turned in a star performance, especially when he shared screen time with Mortensen. His volatile, edgy character was worrying to watch at times, and at others; very humorous. The pairing of Mortensen and Cassel however is where the gold really lies - they blatantly have a lot of chemistry onscreen and I do wonder if they happened to be extremely good friends off camera, because it just works so beautifully.  I loved every second of every scene when those two shared it together.

I do have only one disappointment with the film, and unfortunately, on hindsight it's quite a major one....



---------------------SPOILER---------------------


The fact that Mortensen's character was in actual fact an undercover cop. For me this really took away some of his darkness, and whereas initially I regarded him as an enigmatic character with his body work suggesting all sorts of past history, I was somewhat disappointed to find his past was not so mysterious or hardcore afterall.


Leaving my disappointment at that aside, however, I thoroughly enjoyed this and it shall definitely be joining my dvd collection when it comes out.

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Post #: 20
RE: RE: - 3/11/2007 12:10:17 PM   
mackey

 

Posts: 336
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I thought this was a good film but not a great one.  Viggo was excellent in it, probably his best performance for me and the fight was absolutely excellent.  Overall it lacked a little something for me and I thought Naomi Watts was criminally underused.

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Post #: 21
- 11/11/2007 1:25:21 AM   
tombetom

 

Posts: 13
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An entertaining gangster film almost totally lacking in depth that engages the viewer just enough for them to most-way forgive its flaws.

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Post #: 22
RE: - 8/12/2007 8:25:13 PM   
TheGodfather


Posts: 5364
Joined: 21/10/2005
From: Sin City
Just seen it this week.


Being dissapointed with A History Of Violence, I really hoped that Cronenberg`s latest could satisfy more. This time I wasn`t dissapointed.

Right from the first scene you`re pulled into the movie until the very last scene. The spirit of the movie is set right at the beginning.
Everything is great about this, to start with the acting. Everbody`s performance (except the Vincent Cassel one, who I found to be annoying at times) is awesome, with a great Viggo Mortensen and Armin Mueller-Stahl.
The soundtrack is really dark and fits the film perfectly.
The camera work is great as well, the film has a whole bunch of beautiful, gripping and already classic shots in it.
The second part of the movie is even better than the first, really every shot and scene is nothing short of brilliant. The voice-over of Tatiana`s experiences, hopes and thoughts is gripping and really sad. An excellent choice of Cronenberg to tell her story like this. Makes you feel kinda sad. You don`t have to tell too much about this or the film as a whole. You just need to see and experience it.

At the edge of the year, Eastern Promises is one of the years absolute best films and Cronenberg`s best so far.

9,0/10


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Post #: 23
disappointed - 17/12/2007 1:16:25 PM   
TheMadFatChickKiller


Posts: 319
Joined: 30/1/2006
not a patch on 'History of Violence'. There was a potentially excellent movie in here, but apart from the set pieces and some nice character detail from Viggo, it was a hollow, boring experience

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Post #: 24
Easterm Promises - 1/1/2008 4:34:49 PM   
lynnshep


Posts: 428
Joined: 17/1/2007
From: USA
Tense, thrilling. Murky and atmospheric. Watts is as usual good, Cassel is great, but finally Mortenson gets a film that will truly break him out as the actor he is. Cronenberg's direction is solid. The bathhouse fight scene will be legendary and a standard for film fights to come.

< Message edited by lynnshep -- 29/11/2008 4:06:52 PM >

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RE: Could Have Been Superb - 28/1/2008 8:11:42 PM   
Fluke Skywalker


Posts: 9540
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From: the dark side of the sun
*** SPOILERS ***

Viggo Mortensen stands out in this movie - his Russian gangster is one of those cool cinematic creations that rise above the movies they inhabit. I thoroughly enjoyed Eastern Promises, apart from Mortensen the other performances were also largely excellent especially the Russian don played by Armin Mueller-Stahl, whose piercing eyes did a fair bit of the menacing acting for him.

Naomi Watts didn't really need to exercise her acting chops but convinced in her role but Vincent Cassell's character somehow felt cliched - the off the rails son living in the shadow of his father.

I have to agree with the three stars given by Empire for this movie, the main reason being that it ended rather abruptly as opposed to it turning melodramatic. Just as things came to a head with the double cross and the rape case, it was all bypassed and all we got was a final shot of Mortensen sitting in the restaurant before the credits rolled. 

I could have easily sat through another 20 minutes as the final moments unfolded on screen, maybe even with a bit of revenge dealt out to the barber for his duplicity thrown in for good measure. In conclusion a good effort and personally I don't think it's as far behind A History of Violence as others do.

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Post #: 26
- 23/2/2008 9:37:24 PM   
BLOCKBUSTERCORBY

 

Posts: 2
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We all in the store agree this was a great movie not as good as 'history' but still a great film, plus i'll now forever have Aragons cock imprinted on the brain!!!!

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Post #: 27
- 29/2/2008 3:11:34 PM   
Kat113

 

Posts: 66
Joined: 15/5/2007

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Post #: 28
- 29/2/2008 3:11:34 PM   
Kat113

 

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Post #: 29
RE: - 3/3/2008 12:01:01 PM   
MOTH

 

Posts: 3479
Joined: 3/10/2005
From: Sittin' on the dock of the bay
A tight and gripping little thriller. Stretches credibility a little at times and Naomi Watts’ character is very under-developed, but Viggo Mortensen’s central performance is good enough to sustain your interest throughout, with Armin Mueller-Stahl and Vincent Cassell lending fine support throughout.(8/10)

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