Eastern Promises (2007)  Wow.  What a fantastic freakin’ movie.  Seriously.  Violent as hell (just so you’re warned), but the acting was top-notch.  I’m not usually much of a Naomi Watts fan, but she was excellent in this, as was the supporting cast, especially Vincent Cassel as Kirill.  Viggo Mortensen, as Nikolai, was absolutely yummy as a Russian mob “chauffer”.  Yes, he’s yummy to look at in general, so that’s a perk, but he completely owned this role, and was definitely the star vehicle for the film.

 

As I watched, I was a bit put off by the graphic detail of the violence (two instances of throat cutting, one of which opens the movie), but when the shower scene came about, I understood why the filmmakers had been so visceral…it was to put us in that world, and to understand how brutal it really was.  If that scene had been rolled out without setting the viewer up for it, then it would have been unbelievable.  Having been prepared for it (sort of), it was a hold-your-breath sequence, where you wondered if Nikolai was going to live or die.

 

The plot itself was tight, with great exposition for future events.  While I figured out both what/who Mortensen’s character was reasonably early on, as well as the knife in the back (almost literally) he received, it in now way took away from my pleasure in saturating myself in this film.

 

If you’re looking for a movie that’s going to suck you in within the first few minutes and keep you there for the entire rest of the flick, then this is an excellent choice.  It’s totally deserving of the accolades received, but be warned, it is graphic, so having the kids around is a no-no.

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