A Love Letter to Eastern Promises

One of my favorite movies of all time

Carlos Barrera, Reporter

I watched the movie “Serenity” that hit theaters a few days ago and only have a few things to say about it. Its plot consists of a woman contacting her ex-husband fisherman to kill her current husband, and they have an affair. Makes total sense right? “Serenity” is a confusing, oddly sexual, fish-obsessed dumpster fire of a movie whose ending doesn’t even make it worth watching and definitely not worth writing a full review for. What I do enjoy is what the movie reminded me of.

“Serenity” was directed by Steven Knight, the screenwriter for David Cronenberg’s movie “Eastern Promises”, a captivating multi-layered movie about Russian crime, a diary, and a dead woman. I would put it in my top 5 movies, if not my favorite movie.

I saw this movie late at night in the winter of 2016 as I scrolled through channels and enjoyed it enough that I ended up replaying it just to see it again, analyzing every frame for some subtle mannerism by the fantastic Viggo Mortensen that I may have missed before.

Onto the actual review of the movie: “Eastern Promises” is about Anna Khitrova, a midwife who finds a Russian diary on the body of Tatiana, a 14-year-old girl who dies in childbirth. Anna goes to find the girl’s family to take care of the baby where she goes down a rabbit hole involving the Russian Mob. Nikolai, the family’s cleaner, is played by Viggo Mortensen and is the best of anyone in the movie.

In preparation for the role, Viggo Mortensen talked to many specialists and former mafia members to get realistic tattoo designs for the movie, and studied the Russian language to imitate a good accent. He was able to this well enough he was actually mistaken for a mafia member when he forgot to wash off his tattoos.

The set pieces and location choice for “Eastern Promises” were excellent, with each place fitting the mood and keeping the audience immersed throughout. The dialogue is the same, no lines feeling too out of place or unwarranted.

The plot is very satisfying, albeit some flaws at the end. Overall it has proper spacing and building throughout so that you never feel as if the movie drags.

I always have had a enjoyment of thriller movies with underlying themes of deceit. “Eastern Promises” was a hidden gem for me that I would not have come across any other way. Referring to my original statement, “Serenity” is and always will be a bad movie, but I am glad that I was able to remember one of my favorites again.