Viggo Mortensen is certainly the best part of this movie and the Oscar nod is obviously for his History of Violence (both directed by David Cronenberg) performance. A supporting cast with the likes of Armin Mueller-Stahl, Naomi Watts and Vincent Cassel certainly is a recipe for a potentially good film. However, the story falls apart once it becomes obvious who Mortensen really is. It devolves into a Hollywood happy ending piece, instead of a gritty crime drama.
Watts is underused and once again makes me wonder if she has staying power. As the good doctor who becomes inadvertently embroiled in a Russian mafia family scandal, she pouts and looks worried a lot. Her concern is the baby she delivered but whose mother died from trauma. She also finds a diary of the dead girl which contains dangerous information. It is very cloak and dagger, yet never has you on the edge. In fact the storyline is contrived and hokey.
There is an attempt on Viggo Mortensen’s life where he is bare assed naked and being attacked by two men wielding knives. This is the “money shot” so to speak. It was the first thing most learned about the film and created some buzz for the film. Eastern Promise’s fails to deliver a potent story and can’t decide what genre it fits into. It’s slow at times and often graphically violent. I had to turn away for some scenes were gratuitous at best. Glad I saw it. Next!
Copyright ©2008 Veronica Romm