Eastern Promises (2008 DVD)
Directed by David Cronenberg
Canada and UK, 2007
In English with subtitles in French and Spanish
Well-crafted but ultimately unsatisfying mob film about the Russian mafia in London. While Viggo Mortensen (nominated for a Best Actor Oscar) and Naomi Watts do standout work as a mob "driver" and a midwife whose lives cross after a 14-year old sex trafficking victim from Russia dies in labor at the midwife's hospital, the actors who portray father and son villains Semyon (Armin Mueller-Stahl) and Kirill (Vincent Cassel) are annoyingly cartoonish as they try to outwit rival Chechens and each other. I'm willing to give Cronenberg some sort of serious props for making this normally jaded moviegoer flinch at least three times due to the in-your-face nature of the onscreen violence, but the film as a whole suffers from an increasingly implausible storyline and a pat ending that betrays the significance of its major themes. "Stylish" but a bit of a dud. Rating: 2.5/5 stars. (http://www.universalstudioshomeentertainment.com/)
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