Eastern Promises Delivers, And That’s About It
January 23, 2008
Eastern Promises is not a bad film. It’s not a great film either. Maybe it’s just a good film.
The script is smarter than your average Hollywood script, in that it doesn’t entirely spell things out for you at every turn. It’s just like your average Hollywood script, however, in the sense that it goes essentially where you expect it to go…at most turns.
At more than a few points during my viewing, I noticed definite signs of “draftiness” in both the plot and the dialogue. By that I mean that the script seemed at least two solid re-drafts from finished. I was surprised, afterwards, to discover that Stephen Knight, the screenwriter, also wrote Dirty Pretty Things, a very good, well-written, polished film.
Viggo Mortensen is good in Eastern Promises. At one point, you kind of see his penis. Naomi Watts is forgettable in Eastern Promises. At one point, you kind of see her penis.
The direction is sometimes wonderful. At many other times, it seems as if it were cut along with the cookies. There are some classic Cronenberg scenes sprinkled throughout the film. I could have used more of them.
The film doesn’t waste much of your time but still manages to move rather slowly. It spends too much of its running time following Naomi Watts as she walks, rides, and is driven back and forth between three locations in order to move the plot along. It ends anticlimactically.
I was underwhelmed by Eastern Promises.