Movie Review: Eastern Promises

I've generally had very satisfying movie-watching experiences with limited releases. I've posted very good reviews for limited films here in Manila such as Gone Baby Gone, The Namesake and Wedding Daze, but as good as Eastern Promises is, this may be first lukewarm review of a limited release film I watched here.

So what's the deal with Eastern Promises? It's a mob movie set in the London Russian Mafia scene and we see two different people set the story into a complex moral weaving. Issues of family, crime, apathy and corruption are dealt with in a very unsettling manner, but I would have to say the pacing of the movie blew it for me. I found the motion of the movie too restrained and lacks interesting parts in the first two thirds of the movie. Yes, throats are being slit and violence is commonplace, but no amount of gore can sustain my interest for this movie.

Director David Cronenberg and Viggo Mortensen (Lord of the Rings Trilogy) try to recapture the chemistry in A History of Violence but can't find the touch completely. Naomi Watts (King Kong) provided a nice balance to Mortensen, albeit a relatively passive role for her. The last parts were powerful (such as the fighting scene in the public bath) and the ending was wrapped up good enough.

I found Eastern Promises tip-toeing as an above average film, when it could have been one of the limited releases I would have been happy about.

Rating: 2.5/5

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