Viggo Mortenson stars with Academy Award nominee Naomi Watts in Eastern Promises, an edge-of-your-seat thriller that delivers non-stop action and suspense. Directed by David Cronenberg, the critically acclaimed director of A History of Violence, and winner of the top prize at this year’s prestigious Toronto International Film Festival, this must-own DVD movie combines murder, mystery and deception, all leading to an explosive, unforgettable ending.
David Cronenberg has done it again. Eastern Promises is without a doubt an edge-of-your-seat thriller. This film isn’t dumbed down or held back as so many films are that come from Hollywood are. It’s brutal, it will make you squirm, and it may give you nightmares. Whatever the case may be, this movie will without doubt leave an impression on you.
Viggo Mortensen gives a stunning performance as Nikolai, a driver and enforcer for the Russian Mafia. His performance has earned him a Golden Globe nomination, and I wouldn’t be surprised if he gets nominated for an Oscar for this role as well. Naomi Watts also gives a stellar performance as the innocence but headstrong Anna who seeks the truth and finds a bit more than she expected.
Eastern Promises rivals Cronenberg’s other works including History of Violence and quite possibly surpasses it. I’ve always been a fan of his work, but I have to say this title was by far the most gory out of all the films I’ve seen in awhile (with the exception of Tim Burton’s Sweeney Todd). Some of the scenes I thought were a bit too much and just too long as the camera seemed stuck and unable to pan off of or cut from those who had just had their necks sliced. Moving along, if you can manage to keep your eyes uncovered and keep your shrieking to a minimum you will witness one of the most impressive fight scenes I’ve ever seen Viggo Mortensen in. While it’s not as epic as his Lord of the Rings scenes, it certainly is skillful, realistic, and well executed none-the-less, and all done while Mortensen is all-natural which may sound sexy but the blood and stabbing takes all the sexy notions and throws them about as far out of your mind as humanly possible.
The ending caught me off guard as I didn’t expect what happened to actually happen, but I also found myself wanting to know more than the film seemed to cover. This was refreshing to me, you don’t get spoon fed a happily-ever-after ending.
Definitely check out this film, but be prepared for the blood and the gore. After all, you can’t get around it with Cronenberg’s work, and this one takes that aspect to a whole new level.
Review by Emma Loggins