A: When a 14-year-old Russian girl without identification dies during childbirth, the midwife (Naomi Watts) tries to identify and locate the baby’s relatives by having the girl’s diary translated into English. Unfortunately, her efforts to do a good deed, lead her directly to dangerous members of the Russian Mob, where she quickly becomes deeply entangled with too much information.
Q: Who’s in the movie?
A: Viggo Mortensen, Naomi Watts, Vicent Cassel, Armin Mueller-Stahl, Sinead Cusack, Jerzy Skolimoski
Q: Is this movie worth the price of admission?
A: Go! While it’s a little slow to get started, and extremely violent in parts, the twists and turns are interesting, surprising, and executed with and impressive subtlety, which leaves you feeling both challenged and satisfied.
Q: Will this movie make me laugh?
A: Let me put it this way, the first time Nikolai (Mortensen) tells a joke, he has to explain afterwards that he was joking, and I still couldn’t figure out what was funny about what he had said.
Q: Will this movie make me cry?
A: Scream at the gore, yes. Clutch your seat from the tension, sure. But probably not cry.
Q: Will this movie be up for any awards?
A: Maybe the Academy will finally nominate Viggo for last year’s incredible performance in A History of Violence. I know that’s not officially how it works, but I was surprised that he was overlooked last year, as that was one of the strongest performances I’ve seen-- ever. And you know how they sometimes honor a less worthy performance a year late, because they realize they messed up the year before? Like when they gave Russell Crowe the best actor award for Gladiator, because they forgot to give it to him for The Insider… It could happen.
In other acting news, I would love to see Vincent Cassel get a Best Supporting Actor nod for this high energy performance as a powerful but incredibly insecure mob boss’s son, who seamlessly switches back and forth between power-hungry and desperate to be loved.
Q: How is the Acting?
A: With each role Viggo Mortensen takes on, his face transforms so completely, that I don’t even think I would recognize him if he were sitting in my lap. Meanwhile, he has met his match in Vincent Cassel. The scenes where these two battle for power are almost enough in themselves to make this film worth viewing. This is an acting duo I would love to see repeated.
Q: How is the Directing?
A: I like David Cronenberg, but I blame him for the extreme levels of gore. While most of the violence was necessary, it wasn’t necessary for it to be shot in such a gruesome manner.
Q: How is the story/script?
A: Information in this film is doled out on a need to know basis. Nothing is repeated twice. Nothing is spoon-fed. And because of it, the audience gets smarter. My only complaint (aside from the slow beginning), is that Naomi Watts’ character, Anna, made some really bad decisions, even late in the movie when she really should have known better. I thought maybe it was supposed to come off as “ballsy,” but she was never established as any kind of a vigilante, so she ended up coming off as “dumb blond.”
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