Cincinnati Babyhead

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Movie : Snap review – Eastern Promises

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A Russian teenage girl dies in the hospital giving birth. A midwife finds a diary belonging to the young girl which leads her to the dark, violent world the teenager came from. She was part of human trafficking and forced into a life of prostitution run by the Russian underworld.  The young midwife is just trying to do the right thing but it ends up taking her into a secret world that opens up one secret after another and puts her life and others in danger.

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A pretty basic outline for a film that is far from your regular crime film. So much to like in this movie. The acting, direction, story, cinematography, twists etc all make it a special film. David Cronenberg is in the directors seat and knows exactly what he wants from this film. He uses his grade A talent to achieve his vision. Dark, gritty, moving and very violent. The film does not pull any punches. Not an easy watch or for the faint of heart. A slice of the kind of life some unfortunates are forced to live. Viggo Mortensen again shows me why I consider him one of the best actors currently working. He lives, breaths the role and is so believable it’s beyond praise. He’s not just about his performance, he’s about contributing to making this a great film. The subject matter will keep folks away. I get that but they will miss some great work.

Take a slide into this world if you want to experience the dark side. A tough motion picture but a good one.

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45 comments on “Movie : Snap review – Eastern Promises

  1. hotfox63
    February 10, 2019

    I am not familiar with Cronenberg’s work. I only saw his movie version of J. G. Ballard’s “Crash”. There is dreamlike quality to the film which might not appeal to those who like a little more action. But it works here because the people involved in this strange pathology are individuals living in a kind of dream of mechanical mayhem in which soft bodies and hard metal come together in increasingly erotic ways.

    Liked by 1 person

    • cincinnatibabyhead
      February 10, 2019

      Fox, I haven’t seen all of Cronenberg’s films (Crash being one) but the ones I have seen have that “dreamlike quality”. ‘History Of Violence’certainly does. I guess it’s his style. I would recommend ‘Eastern Promises’ to you. It has the same quality. The characters are all caught up in the world Cronenberg creates. He has some fine actors at his disposal. It’s dreamlike with a little nightmare thrown in.

      Liked by 1 person

      • hotfox63
        February 11, 2019

        Ok. CB! I ‘ll put that film on my list. I’ve always liked Armin Müller-Stahl.

        Liked by 1 person

      • cincinnatibabyhead
        February 12, 2019

        He is always good and is good in this.

        Liked by 1 person

      • hotfox63
        February 17, 2019

        We saw “Eastern Promises” yesterday! A really great film, the world around Russia is like the Italians, a code among men. This film has that being close to them with out being there. Great cast Viggo Mortensen pulls off a great performance. Also liked Armin Müller-Stahl and Naomi Watts. This film was worth to watch. Thanks, CB!

        Liked by 1 person

      • cincinnatibabyhead
        February 17, 2019

        Great that I could point you to it. Viggo is great I agree. Armin is always good. Solid solid actor. I had never seen Watts before (or since) and yes she was also very good. You are absolutely right on “being close to them”. Mark of a great film.
        You must know that Bruno Ganz passed away in the last few days. What a great actor he was. I have a take coming up with a film he did a few years ago. I’ll miss his work.

        Liked by 1 person

      • hotfox63
        February 17, 2019

        Yes, I heard in the news that Bruno Ganz died. I always appreciated his professional art of acting. Unique and not repeatable this authenticity of personality.

        Liked by 1 person

      • cincinnatibabyhead
        February 17, 2019

        Well said.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Jim S.
    February 10, 2019

    Good choice here CB. We saw this flick when it came out but I’ll be damned if I can remember much of the plot. I kept thinking – wasn’t there a diner scene? I had to look this up but it turns out I was thinking of “A History of Violence,” another worthy Cronenberg/Mortensen film. I’ve seen 5 or 6 Cronenberg movies. He definitely has his own style that’s for sure.

    Liked by 1 person

    • cincinnatibabyhead
      February 10, 2019

      Same as me on the Cronenberg films. Yes ‘History’ is another good one. It’s worth a rewatch Doc. It’s a good one. Reminds me of those crime films we liked from the 70s. Gritty and realistic.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Chris
    February 10, 2019

    Eastern Promises is high on my list of favorite gangster movies. Agree Cronenberg and Viggo Mortensen are on top form! Holds up well to rewatches.

    Liked by 1 person

    • cincinnatibabyhead
      February 10, 2019

      On the same page with this one. I also like (good) gangster films. This is a good one. My Gal wants to give it a rewatch.
      (I’ll be over in the next few days for a visit)

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Yeah, Another Blogger
    February 10, 2019

    CB, I’ll probably sit this one out. I’m on the faint-hearted side.

    Saw a real good movie last night in Philadelphia. Capernaum. It’s gritty and real.

    Liked by 1 person

    • cincinnatibabyhead
      February 10, 2019

      Totally get it Neil. It doesn’t pull it’s punches and it is not everyone’s bag. Cronenberg makes a beautiful film but it is dark.
      Just went and watched the trailer for ‘Calernaum’. I’m in. The visuals and images got me. I’m also a sucker for street kid films. Thanks for that.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Jim S.
    February 10, 2019

    Your countryman Cronenberg is one oddball dude. His IMDb bio says he’s also called “the King of Venereal Horror or the Baron of Blood.” BTW, recall that I mentioned I watched a movie that we were discussing a while back. You said you had watched “Burden of Dreams.” I finally saw “Fitzcarraldo.” (I first heard about it from Siskel and Ebert in 1982!) It’s a good flick but it takes its time getting where it wants to go. I think the backstory of humping that ship over the hill was almost more fascinating than the movie. I saw bits of “Burden” and enjoyed seeing the Jason Robards/Mick Jagger outtakes. The ending is very satisfying but Herzog needed to edit himself better. Klaus Kinski was a nutjob.

    Liked by 1 person

    • cincinnatibabyhead
      February 10, 2019

      I love “oddballs”. ‘Naked Lunch’ didn’t grab me.
      Doc you know CB a little by now. ‘I try and keep it positive (to easy to slide into the negative cesspool. “Hey it’s just my opinion man”). ‘Fitzcarraldo’ is a example for me of a film that gets hyped and the words “genius’, “masterpiece’ get thrown around. I’m not of that opinion. It was a curiosity for me. It looked like a runaway film and if you watch “Burden’ that’s what it was. Robards and Mick got he hell out of Dodge. Great doc on Werner fucking around in the jungle. Unbelievable. I really liked it. Klaus Kinski? Can you say “needs a shit kicking”. I do like the ending of ‘Fitz’ where he’s floating down the river listening to his tune smoking a cigar. I wanted to be in that scene.

      Like

      • Jim S.
        February 10, 2019

        Oh, I thought you had not seen ‘Fitzcarraldo.’ Good movie but no, no masterpiece. Movie critics tend to salivate over foreign directors. But I’m glad I saw the movie and I’m glad it got made. I give Herzog points and also the “Coppola nutjob” award. It reminded me in places of ‘Apocalypse Now,; a much better movie IMHO and one of my favorites.

        I read that the natives wanted to kill Kinski but Herzog told them to wait till the movie was done filming. I actually had ‘Burden’ on DVR but ran out of time to watch it as I needed to upgrade the box. Apparently Herzog later made a movie called ‘My Best Fiend’ about his relationship with Kinski. You can really go down the rabbit hole with this shit.

        Liked by 1 person

      • cincinnatibabyhead
        February 11, 2019

        i would have laid a beating on old Klaus for a few bucks.
        I’m glad I watched it also. Worth a view. No shortage of “nutjobs”. I dig Apocalypse also. I’ve gone down the Herzog “Rabbit hole”. Interesting stuff. You see his ‘Grizzly Man’?. Hard to watch.

        Like

      • Jim S.
        February 11, 2019

        No. Haven’t heard of it. I’ve heard ‘Aguirre’ is interesting.

        Liked by 1 person

      • cincinnatibabyhead
        February 11, 2019

        ‘Grizzly’ is a doc. Watching a guy in full blown mental illness. Not an easy watch. ‘Aguirre’ is the same thing to me as Fitz.

        Like

      • Jim S.
        February 11, 2019

        That doesn’t sound like my idea of fun.

        Liked by 1 person

      • cincinnatibabyhead
        February 12, 2019

        Not an easy watch. I don’t think I can recommend it. Worse part he had a young girlfriend who got caught up in the slide with bad results. Don’t go there Doc

        Liked by 1 person

      • Jim S.
        February 12, 2019

        So does Herzog have any really good movies or just an undeserved reputation?

        Liked by 1 person

      • cincinnatibabyhead
        February 12, 2019

        Herzog is always a curiosity to me. He does interesting stuff and always far from the mainstream which I like. The film of his that’s a little more accessible if I was to pick one would be ‘Stroszrek’. I haven’t seen them all but quite a few and will continue to watch his output. He has done some interesting docs ‘Caves Of Forgotten Dreams’ comes to mind. He does eat his shoe in a doc from another film maker, Les Blank (who actually directed ‘Burden’. Les has made a few really good films. One on Lightn Hopkins). I hope that confuses you a little.

        Like

      • Jim S.
        February 12, 2019

        I seem to remember the shoe-eating thing from somewhere. The Lightnin’ Hopkins one sounds interesting.

        Liked by 1 person

      • cincinnatibabyhead
        February 13, 2019

        The Hopkins thing is really raw. I have it and like it. It’s getting back to the roots as you can get.

        Like

    • cincinnatibabyhead
      February 10, 2019

      You had me curious on what film it was. I actually have it on DVD (given to me). Probably worth something.

      Like

      • Jim S.
        February 10, 2019

        You should watch it. And I’ll watch ‘Last Tango.’ We’ll compare notes

        Liked by 1 person

      • cincinnatibabyhead
        February 11, 2019

        Watched it a couple years ago. It’s a good film but out there. Brando does some good work but he’s bent. I like non traditional films and this is one.

        Liked by 1 person

  6. J.
    February 11, 2019

    Great flick, this one. Saw it way back when it was released. Twice in a matter of days, in fact – a pal gave me his copy that didn’t have the subtitles and I thought it was part of the mystery and edge. When I said to him, he told me there were subtitles. No idea what happened, but I went out and bought it the next day. I don’t mind telling you it made me flinch on more than one occasion. Outstanding film making.

    Liked by 1 person

    • cincinnatibabyhead
      February 12, 2019

      It’s a case where the violence in the story is necessary. That world id built on it. The film captures it. I agree on your last sentence.

      Liked by 1 person

      • J.
        February 12, 2019

        Definitely, yeah… and it’s all very believable. Viggo’s performance is a career best (he doesn’t get better than he is in this and History of Violence, in my opinion).

        Liked by 1 person

      • cincinnatibabyhead
        February 12, 2019

        Solid performances in both. Never a false moment. I think I’ve already featured him in four takes.

        Liked by 1 person

      • J.
        February 12, 2019

        I’ll need to go look for those and give them a read. Viggo is the man when he’s on form.

        Liked by 1 person

      • cincinnatibabyhead
        February 12, 2019

        ‘The Road’ and ‘Far From Men’. I think you commented on both. We have established that we have common ground with the Veeg.

        Liked by 1 person

      • J.
        February 12, 2019

        You’re right. I hadn’t seen Far From Men and still haven’t. I’ll need to get on that. I quite fancy that new one he’s in.

        Liked by 1 person

      • cincinnatibabyhead
        February 12, 2019

        My neighbor is the worlds biggest Don Shirley fan in the world (not exaggerating with all that territory). Shirley is one of the main characters playing opposite Viggo’s character in the film your talking about. My neighbor is also helping to produce a doc on Shirley’s life. The film actually blew audiences away at the Toronto Film Fest. No pre hype just old fashioned quality that people picked up on.

        Liked by 1 person

      • J.
        February 12, 2019

        This is good to know (hype aside that it’s genuinely the business), as I’m always weary when catching a trailer and it’s littered with hyperbole. It did look really good. I like that Ali chap, too – another proper actor.

        Liked by 1 person

      • cincinnatibabyhead
        February 12, 2019

        Never sen Ali. Heard he’s good. I probably wouldn’t see the film if VM wasn’t in it. I’m getting some mixed reviews from people I respect. I guess old CB will just have to take it in and give it his opinion. Hype and all that scares the shit out of me. An actor, a director etc or a recommendation from someone I trust gets me to watch a film.

        Liked by 1 person

      • J.
        February 12, 2019

        Same with me. I usually have to have something that’s drawing me to a film rather than going for it based on hype. This one it’s Viggo. He’s not in enough stuff.

        Like

      • cincinnatibabyhead
        February 12, 2019

        Yup.

        Liked by 1 person

  7. BuriedOnMars
    February 11, 2019

    I know I’ve watched this but I can’t remember a thing about it. Time for a rewatch.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. JDB
    February 18, 2019

    I’m afraid I’m among the fainthearted folk who’d best stay away from this one. I can recall reading the review when it first came out: the degree of violence was emphasized. I’ve loved Mortensen in several other films, including Cronenberg’s A History of Violence.

    Liked by 1 person

    • cincinnatibabyhead
      February 18, 2019

      Good choice on your part. Obviously there is more to the film but the violence is so much part of that world. They certainly don’t glorify it but use it to tell this particular story. ‘History Of Violence’ was no Hallmark card so you do catch a few of the hard flicks.
      I’m a big Viggo fan. Check out ‘Far From Men’. Beautiful film.

      Like

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