Saturday, February 16, 2008

Eastern Promises....Beautiful and Haunting

This movie is creative, intricate and surprisingly interesting on so many levels. The acting, all around, is sometimes so meagerly subtle, particularly in characters like Nikolai (Mortenson), that you almost forget that they're actors and not Russian or British or whatever. Like classic Cronnenberg, the cinematography is very direct, full of long complicated takes, and pays special concentration to expression through the body and face and eyes. It was, surprisingly, not as violent as i thought it would be, though the blood, when it did appear, flowed and flowed. Suspense grabs, holds tight and never lets you go in this almost entirely noirish thriller that teeters on the conflict between self indulgent gain, and what is real, what is given, and what is ultimately understood by all even at man's most deepened core. The story requires attention to details and a steady ear to language, both verbal, and, as stated earlier, physical. The action, when it does occur, which at times is from nowhere, either comes and goes without the stylistic, but brutal reality of what would probably occur if what was happening on the screen was actually going on. Like his recent work of art, A History of violence, the flow of the red ruby happens in bloody, dirty, nasty, unorganized, realistic fashion that may, for a split second, take your breath away to marvel upon what just happened before you. Mind games aplenty and overall good film-making give this film notoriety well-deserved for many years to come.

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