Trompé Setsuled (setsuled) wrote,
Trompé Setsuled

  • Mood:
  • Music:

Knives and Tattoos

It's hard to satisfy two cats at once. This morning Lucky the Cat decided to eat from his bowl during the time when I normally give the both of them treats, which means Lucky got his treats after Victoria, which made Victoria jealous for being without treats at the precise moment Lucky had treats. Such is life.

Having a computer again means I can finally write about Eastern Promises, the new David Cronenberg film which I saw on Friday. It's a very good movie, though not Cronenberg's best film by far. It's about on par with A History of Violence.

When I first started watching Cronenberg movies, I found something subtly unsettling about his style, but now I was just kind of pleased to be seeing the familiar intercut closeups, usually with the characters' shoulders just above the frame, and the very slight distortion that makes faces seem to puncture the screen, though not so obtrusively as to make one overly conscious of the technique. Although this movie's about the Russian Mafia in London, and not the Philadelphia based Irish Mafia of A History of Violence, Cronenberg and his skilled cinematographer, Peter Suschitzky, use similar soft, warm lighting for the abodes of these gangsters. You can smell the burnished red leather seats and black leather jackets.

Although Naomi Watts is nominally the star and the audience's POV, she's almost invisible. Viggo Mortensen is the character everyone will be thinking about while watching the movie, not just because Mortensen fits so perfectly into what is an unusual role for him. His character, Nikolai, is brutal, but quite cool. You spend a lot of time figuring out what he's about.

Perhaps the weakest aspect of the movie is its framing as a conventional thriller, but a story seeps through about desperate people becoming the prey of a quiet, traditional institution, and the savagery of the human animal. I wish more time had been spent on the young prostitutes, and their odd little society in the private brothels of the Russian Mafia. But perhaps its their lack of voice, like another character's repressed homosexuality, that best creates a sense of the anti-organic institution. This is visually reflected by Cronenberg's unrestrained portrayals of human flesh, as the movie opens with one of the young prostitutes giving birth to a tiny blood-spattered baby, seen in a tight closeup, its fragile limbs and face clasped by medical instruments.

  • As Walls Crumble by the Jungle

    At the beginning of the 20th century in Bengal, a family struggles for survival in 1955's Pather Panchali. A great acheivement in…

  • Like Rats to a Mall

    Since Kevin Smith has unexpectedly become a hot topic lately, I decided to go back and watch one of his classics. 1995's Mallrats was usually…

  • Time of the Goonies

    I didn't choose to watch 1985's The Goonies to honour the recently deceased Richard Donner. Like many Steven Spielberg produced movies of the…

  • Post a new comment


    default userpic

    Your reply will be screened

    When you submit the form an invisible reCAPTCHA check will be performed.
    You must follow the Privacy Policy and Google Terms of use.