A pregnant 14 year old girl, Tatiana is rushed into a hospital in London for delivery. At the hospital, she is attended by Anna Khitrova(Naomi Watts). Tatiana dies giving birth to a girl. While searching for clues about Tatiana, Anna stumbles upon her diary. The diary is written in Russian and she wants to translate it in order to find the relatives of Tatiana. Anna intends to contact Tatiana’s relatives for handing over the baby girl. At the her home, her mother Helen and her uncle Stefan, discourages her.
Tracking a business card placed inside the diary, she reaches a Russian restaurant owned by Semyon(Armin Mueller-Stahl). Listening to Anna, Semyon agrees to translate the diary. As he is busy with the Christmas celebrations, he asks Anna to visit him another day. Uneasy with Semyon, Anna does not disclose her address. Anna also meets Semyon’s son Kirill(Vincent Cassel) and also Kirill’s driver Nikolai(Viggo Mortensen). Unknown to Anna, Semyon is a boss in the Russian Mafia named vory v zakone and Nikolai is the undertaker, the one who disposes of the murdered victims.
Tatiana was an immigrant. Who brought her into the country? What happened to her? How are the lives of Semyon, Kirill, Nikolai and Anna connected? These questions are answered in the rest of the movie.
David Cronenberg directs this movie. He tells the story of crime and violence, a familiar theme for him. He slowly unravels the mystery and the characters are not what they seem to be at first sight. He intrigues the viewer with the motives behind each character and surprises the viewer all the time.
Armin Mueller-Stahl steals the show with his restrained yet different portrayal of a crime boss. Viggo Mortensen and Vincent Cassel are good.
The Indian version of the movie does not have the love making scene and also the fight in the bath! These have been edited out for the censor certification. Even without these scenes, this is a very violent movie. This is not recommended just after a dinner/lunch.
Watch it for the performances, a bit of mystery and also violent portrayal of the Russian mafia.
Picture Courtesy: Yahoo! Movies