Well if you been following my blog you will no doubt have found a recurring theme. Her name is Naomi Watts! Mmmmmm...Naomi!! I'm an unabashed fan and think she is one of Hollywood's premium actresses.
Possibly the thing that impresses me most about her ( besides the fact she is a mega-babe! ) is she seems to pick her parts very well. So far she hasn't appeared in any clangers. Compare Charlize Theron who is brilliant in Monster but also appears in rubbish like Aeon Flux. The Ring movies certainly didn't challenge Watts's acting skills and yet they are still fine horrors. She gives them credibility through her talent.
But wait! Anyone would think that she is the only person in this film! Excuse me for my Naomi ramblings! The very talented Viggo Moretensen also appears and this will make the ladies happy as he gets to fight and roll around naked in a sauna naked. And yes girls we see IT all!!
This is not Watt's best performance or role. But Mortensen is outstanding as a Russian mobster who is not all he seems. In fact he is so good he was nominated for an Oscar. Here is a long way from Aragon of The Lord of the Rings.
The film centres around a young girl who dies after delivering a baby and the nurse, Watts, who finds her diary. It leads her into the dark world of the Russian mafia and enforced prostitution, or more commonly, the sex slave trade.
Even though this is a film of fiction its content isn't pleasant. The young girl turns out to have been fourteen and a virgin when she was raped by the head of the mafia. He manipulates the incriminating diary from Watts and destroys it.
Mortensen's character is not all he seems. Even as he is initiated into the mafia with a series of tattoos it is revealed he is working for Scotland Yard. Turn takes turn and the head of the mafia is brought down after a blood sample is skillfully taken from him and compared to the baby's to prove he is the father. Of course with the girl having been only fourteen he is convicted of statutory rape.
There are some brutal moments in this film as throats are slit and a girl is seen to be having unwilling sex with Mortensen. The throat cuttings are unconvincing as the blood is too thick and red. A minor quibble but noticeable. But really it is a film focusing on the sex slave trade and the promises made to Russian girls that lead them into it. Of course once out of Russia and without a passport they find themselves trapped in it.
The film of course is based on fact and is not nice because of it. It certainly brings this highly odious practise to the viewers attention in a convincing way. The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest, the second of the Millennium trilogy also has this trade as a backdrop within Sweden. I like the fact that two films have been made bringing this practise to the worlds attention.
In many respects they are better platforms than a documentary. People will pay to see thier favorite movie stars in a film, and if that can be combined with real life, factual scenarios then the message gets a better and wider audience. Maybe I'm reading too much into it but I hope the producers of Eastern Promises had this as a goal in making this film.
Overall it is not in the great film realm. But it is certainly well above average to. Mortensen is very good and keeps his Russian accent believable right throughout. Watts is very solid and the film is very watchable. But it is film about a highly unplesant trade and I hope that the films whole intention was to bring this practise to the eyes of the world. A well made effort in using real practises within a fictional film.