Directed: David Cronenberg
Starring: Viggo Mortensen, Naomi Watts, Armin Mueller-Stahl
After a teenage girl dies in the hands of a midwife, only the baby survives. The midwife tries to find out where she came from by translating the girl’s diary written in Russian. She finds herself embroiled with organized crime in London and dangerous Russian men.
The movie starts off with Naomi Watts’ midwife, Anna, who is trying to find someone to translate the dead pregnant girl’s diary so she knows if the baby has any family before she ends up in foster care. She starts with her Russian uncle who is old school and hilarious in his backwards way. He is a bit of troublesome while translating it so Anna tries to find out if the girl worked at a restaurant after finding a business card in the diary. She meets a seemingly kindly man who owns the restaurant and he says he can translate the diary for her. When she brings a copy of the diary the next day, she slowly starts to realize that she might have walked into something dangerous. She sees the man’s gangster son who is a mess. His driver is Nikolai, which is Viggo Mortensen’s character. He seems a bit more friendly, but she suddenly doesn’t trust any of them. It is too late at that point since they know where she works and where she lives. While her uncle finally gets through translating the diary, they realize what a mess they have all found themselves in. It goes back and forth between her and her family teetering on the edge of the Russian mob and Nikolai moving up the ranks as a full-fledged gangster from just a driver.
Viggo Mortensen really disappears into his roles. You don’t even think about the other roles he has had while watching him as a Russian mobster. He sounds and looks like a Russian. He’s very believable. Naomi Watts really becomes the audience in the movie. When she discovers how scary the situation she is in, the same time the audience is also discovering it. It all comes across her face, but very subtlety. Armin Mueller-Stahl plays the big gangster boss. He’s very scary, but in a quiet way. He doesn’t really do anything to make him scary, but the way he carries himself. I found him scary.
Then, there is a crazy naked fight scene. If you want to see Viggo Mortensen naked, bloody and in all his glory, then this is the movie for you.