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(Review originally written at 12 December 2007)

Of course this is not a bad movie but it's just that the movie is nothing too remarkable and doesn't stand out on too many fields, compared to other genre movies.

The first halve of the movie just wasn't always as good and interesting enough. It went on and on about the diary, which to me just wasn't the greatest or most compelling element of the story. The movie should had progressed faster and build up earlier to the clearly better second halve.

In the second halve the twists and turns kick in. It's nothing too shocking but it just makes the movie a little bit more interesting to watch and gives the story as a whole also some more depth and feeling. In the second halve you get to understand all of the motivations, that were all still mainly clouded in the movie its first halve. In its second halve it also becomes all the more obvious that this is a Cronenberg movie. Some graphic action kicks in and things tend to get more dark.

Cronenberg's tries hard to create a new genre within the crime movie-genre. A genre that takes a more subtle and realistic approach and is very character driven. Guess it's just not my type of thing, since I also didn't like "A History of Violence" as much as everyone else seemed to do, even though I certainly enjoyed and appreciated the movie, just as I do this one.

Just give me back the 'old' David Cronenberg. I preferred the Cronenberg that made movies such as "Videodrome", "The Fly" and "eXistenZ". But he obviously now likes making this 'new' sort of crime movies, since this is his second attempt, right after "A History of Violence" and he has success with it, so why would he stop?

The movie is also different because it's set in London. If you're being completely critical you could ask why? What does it add to the story? It isn't even made that clear through the images that the movie is set in London, because it doesn't show any of the famous well known landmarks. The only thing that basically gives it away are because the car's are driving on the 'wrong side of the road' and Naomi Watts talks in an English accent, that by the way just seem to come and go randomly. The movie could had just as good had been set in any standard American or Canadian town, in which Cronenberg previously shot all of his movies. For the atmosphere and story of the movie it seems to be totally insignificant and random that the movie is set in London. But well, this is something to ponder about if you're overly critical. It of course isn't something that distracts or downgrades the movie or its story.

It's above all a character driven movie, with Viggo Mortensen as the lead man. He plays- and looks like such a different character then he normally does. Perhaps it's an Oscar worthy performance he is giving in this movie, although the probably went get further than just a nomination this year. The character within the movie are characters but above all also humans. They look and feel real. Even though they are not in some everyday situations, they still deal with it as 'normal' humans.

Some people complain that Armin Mueller-Stahl and Vincent Cassel don't look and talk like Russian's but I have no problem with this. Especially Vincent Cassel fits his role right and it's also surprising to see Armin Mueller-Stahl for a change as a big crime-boss. I thought they did a really excellent job with the casting in this movie.

It's a good watch as a sort of a different approach of the crime-genre but in the long run the movie is just nothing too remarkable or something that will life on for a long time in your memory-, to consider this movie one of the year's-, or Cronenberg's best.

7/10

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About Frank Veenstra

Watches movies...writes about them...and that's it for now.
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