Last night, I watched "Eastern Promises," a 2007 thriller about the Russian mafia in, I think, London. Different from the wildly popular "The Godfather," this movie is darker, more redolent and more credible. It is a fairly violent movie ... but the violence was not a sidelight or an afterthought: Organized crime is based on violence, and so, perforce, the movie did not shy away from violence.
What I really liked was the faces of the people doing the acting. There was a total of two pretty faces in the whole cast. Everyone else looked like people, honest-to-goodness people. The plot was nicely intricate instead of comic-book broad. Often, what was left unspoken and unexplained loomed as large and important as what was. Maybe it was a "Godfather" for grown-ups, although I doubt that any movie could ever do adult credit to the chicanery and cruelty and stupidity of such a world. But these human beings had believable characters, from the sly and silent power brokers to the sometimes rambunctious and sometimes restrained underlings who did their bidding.
It was nice to see a movie that did not pander quite so obviously to the Hollywood gods. And I wanted to know what happened 'after the end.'
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