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Eastern Promises….western failings

November 9, 2007

Most of this was taken from a rambling mail that I sent….

Saw this film a couple of weeks ago and have only read some of the reviews now.  Yes I am a bit strange that way- I read reviews after I see a film only to see if I agree with certain critics.  Most of the reviews are glowing but I just did not think that this was an excellent film- good yes but I felt detached from the story and that parts were far too predictable.  Maybe I felt detached because I thought that the Russian was indecipherable (use to speak it) and that the constant changing between Russian and English didnt work- usually you will change languages when another person who doesn’t speak the language enters a conversation but that wasn’t the case here.  I am not sure if the narration of the girl quite worked either- just a few niggling things like this that just did not gel in the film.  The screenplay is by Steven Knight who also wrote the screenplay for Dirty Pretty Things which I thought was a much better film in showing the darker sides of London. 

For me the violence wasn’t an issue since I am a big fan of Asian cinema- there are scenes in nearly every Asian film that I have seen that are more extreme than this.   Of course Viggo fans will be delighted by the shower scene regardless of any violence!  To put the violence in context though- one of Vincent Cassell’s previous films (Irreversible) has far more harrowing moments.  If you have not seen this film please do not take this as a recommendation- superb acting and excellent cinematography but extremely brutal and violent. I would say that it is a film that should be seen by a cinephile but I would give the strongest of warnings about it because there are scenes in this film that you will never forget.  

Overall I did want to like this film more- some of  Cronenbergs other films are excellent but I just felt let down by his latest offering.

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