Sunday, January 20, 2008

Eastern Promises

I recognised the setting immediately. Having hated it. Perhaps hate is too strong a word here. Dislike.

I dislike the smell of pee in the Underground. I dislike the constant state of disrepair. The yellow-black tape going around the scaffoldings. The orange and white water-filled barricades. The piss-stained sidewalks and outstretched palms asking you "Spare some change". The dried up vomitus that you nearly stepped on as you turn a corner and the build up of posters on posters, haphazardly plastered and left to tatter on a wall that needs a fresh coat of paint badly.

I dislike London but that how it must be preserved. As my cleaning lady, Lorraine, asked me, years ago, "Oh, London is not really England isn't it?", after I described to her about my weekend trip. She has never been to London. In fact, she's never been further south of Lancashire.

I caught Eastern Promises today. Viggo Mortensen and Naomi Watts lead. The setting was London, with Russian organised crimes families flying under the radar of the authorities. Everybody who has watched this movie will remember the slitting of throats and removal of fingers. And that public bath scene. It's got Viggo Mortensen showing off his willy. Viggo Mortensen is King of Middle Earth if you choose to remember him that way.

The London backdrop was less Notting Hill and Bridget Jones, more like Dirty Pretty Things. Coincidentally, both Eastern Promises and Dirty Pretty Things scripts were written by Steve Knight.

Watch this because you never thought that Aragorn can pull off looking like a Russian thug. And the package is so well put together, characters are so good and a developed plot. And Viggo's willy. And that public bath scene.

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