"ViggoViggoViggoViggoViggo" ...it's not so much a deep rumbling chant as a whisper on loop in my brain. My favorite scene in the movie is not the infamous bathhouse scene, but the one that precedes it, when Nikolai is inducted into 'the family'
Watching the scene again I realized that OF COURSE it's not a monologue at all. It's an interview or, rather, an audition.
The Family: We can see that you were in prison in Siberia. And that you were a thief.
Nikolai: My father was a government worker. He fixed the cars of officials. I began by selling the spare parts when I was fifteen.
The Family: You have no forced tattoos?
The Family: You were not cooperative?
Nikolai: I spent two years in the punishment block.
The Family: You went through the Crosses in St. Petersburg?
Nikolai: I was in solitary confinement a dozen times. I was called 'The Stump' because they couldn't shift me.
The Family: Your father was a bitch and weak fucker for working for the Government. Right?
Nikolai: That's right. He means nothing to me. My mother...
The Family: You have no mother. She was a whore anyway.
Nikolai: Yes. I have no mother and no father. There is only the code, the vory v zakone code ...which I have always followed.
The Family: That is why there is an empty space above your heart where the stars will go. And an empty space on your knees.
Nikolai: I am dead already. I died when I was fifteen. Now I live in the zone all the time.
My obsession had drowned out the other voices in the scene.
There was only the Viggo... the Viggo Mortensen code.
For all his probable truth telling in this scene, there is so much that's submerged that it's entirely riveting. And probably harrowing were we able to penetrate Nikolai's tough shell. I think of Christian Bale's American Psycho monologue when I see this, too. Nikolai isn't the sociopath that Patrick Bateman is, but he's also possibly not there... an idea rather than a true man.
And Nikolai is not a monologuist. He's closer to a parrot. In this great scene he is essentially repeating... giving them exactly what they want to hear. And even at film's end he is still submerged. He is the man whoever he is with needs him to be. Check the way he doubles redemptive embraces: his goodbye kiss to Anna is mirrored by his homoerotic coaxing of Kirill. These moments are mere seconds apart.
Nikolai may have his own agenda but it's all he has for the shapeshifting. Kirill has feelings for Nikolai no doubt. Maybe Nikolai feels for Anna... or maybe he loves the idea of loving her (there really isn't much context for romance in this movie) since there is no man there to do so. Nikolai is a consummate empty vessel. He's already dead. He died when he was fifteen.
Maybe it's out of my system now. This isn't The Viggo Experience after all. But just to make sure I've expelled it from my system, let's just let it out.
There. I'm done. ...or am I ?