I didn't make a whole lot of notes during Eastern Promises because there wasn't a whole lot to critique. It does what it does expertly. It's all about reveals of information and tone.
Movie Review: Eastern Promises
A nurse (Naomi Watts) gets involved with a Russian gangster (Viggo Mortensen) when she tries to find the next of kin for a young mother who died in her care. The plot thickens as she uncovers secrets she shouldn't know and the gangsters scheme to protect their own.
The film immerses you in the world of the Russian mob. It doesn't explain a lot in exposition but it makes sure all the information is there to be obtained. If anything, it seems like the nurse character is only there to facilitate our entry into the world, because it would have just been too hardcore on its own.
Mortensen is a total badass, from the way he extinguishes cigarettes and his methodical disposal of bodies to letting it all hang out in the ultimate fight scene. He's such a nice guy too. He could have just wiped out the nurse's whole family without a second thought but he's a total sweetheart.
The violence is full and bloody, but my feeling on that is, they could make movies where people get stabbed, clutch their throat and fall to the ground. That would make us feel a lot better, but when people get sliced, it's messy and it should feel that way. There are plenty of other movies where it's not necessary. This is about the world of violence as reality, not a cartoon.
It's funny there are no Russian actors in the leading cast. It's all Germans, Frenchmen and Americans. They've even got an Aussie playing the Brit nurse. It's fine though because they're totally immersed in the world with no hints of anachronism.
The film is plenty mysterious and intriguing. It doles out information steadily. So that's it. If you're looking for that sort of this, it works. If you want nonstop action and thrills, or belly laughs, that's not Eastern Promises.