Eastern Promises (R) 100 minutes A
Starring Viggo Mortensen, Naomi Watts, Vincent Cassel, Sinéad Cusack, Donald Sumpter, and Armin Mueller-Stahl
I use to say that David Cronenberg made some of the most interesting films around. His 1996 film Crash is among the most provocative and daring films I have ever seen. But nowadays it is safe to say that Cronenberg makes some of the most interesting AND best films around.
A History of Violence was my film of the year for 2005, and Eastern Promises is one of the best films of 2007 so far. It is a violent and captivating descent into the lives of the Russian mafia.
Anna (Watts), a midwife at a North London hospital stumbles upon a dairy full of secrets after delivering the child of a teenage prostitute. The baby lives and the teenage mother dies. While trying to locate the dead girl's family, Anna quickly learns that the dairy contains incriminating evidence against the Russian mafia.
This is Naomi Watts best work since 2003's 21 Grams, and Viggo Mortensen is electrifying and gives an Oscar caliber performance. Eastern Promises is not for the faint at heart. Cronenberg and writer Stephen Knight (Dirty Pretty Things) have brilliantly captured the gritty and violent world of organized crime. The movie is bloody and graphic but it never seems unwarranted.
Esteemed film critic Roger Ebert scored Eastern Promises 100 out of 100, and earlier this year the film won the coveted "People's Choice Award" at the Toronto International Film Festival.
If you can handle a little violence this is a must see film!