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movie review by David Blackwell

100 minutes, rated R
Aspect ratio: 1.66:1
STARRING Viggo Mortensen (Nikolai), Naomi Watts (Anna), Vincent Cassell (Kirill), Armin Mueller-Stahl (Semyon)
WRITTEN by Steven Knight
DIRECTED by David Cronenberg

STUDIO: Focus Features/ BBC Films/ Scion Films Limited/ Serendipity Point Films/ Kudos Film and Television
theatrical RELEASE DATE: 9-14-2007 (limited)/ 9-21-2007 (wide)

David Cronenberg is a fascinating director with a varied body of work. He started with sci-fi and horror films only to transform into doing chaarcter driven dramas like DEAD RINGERS, A HISTORY OF VIOLENCE, and now EASTERN PROMISES. EASTERN PROMISES takes us into the world of sex slave rings in London run by the Russian Maffia aka vory v zakone (thieves in law). Anaa (Naomi Watts), a midwife at a London hospital, takes home the diary of a dead Russian teenage prostitute, Tatiana. Anna wants to have it translated and find out where Tatiana's family is since she left behind a baby girl. Finding a business card in the diary leads her to the Trans-Siberian Restruant where she crosses paths with Russian mobster Semyon (Armin Mueller-Stahl), his psycho son Kirill (Vicent Cassell), and Kirill's bodyguard/driver Nikolai (Viggo Mortensen). Semyon hears about the diary and wants it back from Anna. He uses various tactics to get it back. The diary tells the story of 14 year old Tatiana and how she got raped. Anna forms a bond with Nikolai who is more than he seems.

EASTERN PROMISES is a well written and directed film. It gives another side of London not seen in thrillers. Cronenberg creates a fascinating world that is sometimes brutal. Viggo Mortensen steals the show as Nikolai from the way he acts (he even puts out a cigarette on his tongue in one scene) and speaks. A few brutal scenes do populate a masterpiece. I hope it gets nominated for a few Oscars. Go see this gem now. One of the best of 2007.

this movie review is (c)9-25-2007 David Blackwell and cannot be reprinted without permission. send all comments to lord_pragmagtic@hotmail.com  

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