Friday, September 21, 2007

Review: Eastern Promises

A Focus Features release 2007

Written by Steve Knight

Directed by David Cronenberg

When an innocent midwife (Naomi Watts) accidentally uncovers potential evidence against his Russian mobster family, Nikolai (Viggo Mortensen) must put into motion a harrowing chain of murder, deceit, and retribution.

While not as thematically complex as A History of Violence, Cronenberg's latest offering is a taut, moody thriller, almost economic in approach. No Cronenberg film makes a stronger tie to Hitchcockian modes of storytelling; each scene moves the story efficiently, while maintaining maximum entertainment value. Yet, the film also contains that trademark Cronenberg style, a queasy mix of violence and humor, absurdity and density.

Viggo Mortensen gives a bravura performance, one of intense restraint yet physical prowess. The knife fight scene, already infamous, will go down as one of the best fight scenes in history.

Definitely worth a look.