Monday, April 4, 2011

Eastern Promises

David Cronenberg, 2007 (8.5*)
Director David Cronenberg is usually noted for more experimental films that can sometimes expose the brutal underbelly of mankind in ways almost too gruesome to bear, such as J.G. Ballard's Crash (the one with James Spader bedding a number of crash victims, such as Holly Hunter and Roseanna Arquette), or Dead Ringers, in which Jeremy Irons turned in a career performance as twin gynecologist brothers who play with the lives of lovers and patients.

In this film, he gives a more straightforward narrative of the Russian mafia. A pregnant teen in London dies giving childbirth, but leaves behind a revealing journal in Russian, which details a rape at 14 and other crimes. Naomi Watts (excellent as usual) as Anna is determined to keep the baby out of the system and find the girl's relatives. She meets a mafia driver with a long criminal past tattoed on his body, played by Viggo Mortensen in his best dramatic performance. Though hardened by life, Nicolai still has enough compassion to give his character depth and complexity, and Mortensen was rewarded with an Oscar® nomination for best actor.

Mortensen and Cronenberg pull off a gut-wrenching and unique fight sequence that will haunt viewers long after the film's more subtle fine points wear off; this is more what we expect from Cronenberg, but the more straightforward narrative perhaps surprised some of his fans, as this is a more mainstream story, with an excellent screenplay from Steven Knight, than perhaps any of his films, including the excellent A History of Violence, also starring Mortensen. There are also fine supporting performance from Vincent Cassel and veteran actor Armin Mueller-Stahl as Russian mobsters.

As a result, this film won 24 awards out of 59 nominations overall. Mortensen won 5 awards out of 13 nominations, but his performance was the only Oscar® nomination for this overlooked crime gem. Cronenberg himself was nominated for 10 awards, but was once again overlooked by the academy.


About Me

My photo
Artist, photographer, composer, author, blogger, metaphysician, herbalist

About This Blog

This is our new template: ProBlogger.

These are the individual film reviews of what I'm considering the best 1000 dvds available, whether they are films, miniseries, or live concerts. Rather than rush out all 1000 at once, I'm doing them over time to allow inclusion of new releases - in fact, 2008 has the most of any year so far, 30 titles in all; that was a very good year for films, one of the best ever.

Author at EZines

  © Blogger templates ProBlogger Template by 2008

Back to TOP