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Eastern Promises

Canada/Great 2007. Dir: David Cronenberg. 100 min. 35mm

David Cronenberg’s extraordinary follow-up and companion piece to 2005’s much-acclaimed A History of Violence is another dark, disturbing, and complex tale of the ties that bind and brutalize. Naomi Watts plays Anna, a London midwife innocently drawn into a demimonde of émigré Russian mobsters after a young prostitute dies in childbirth. Viggo Mortensen, in an Oscar-nominated performance, is thuggish Nikolai, a mobster’s driver who, for morally-ambiguous reasons, wants to protect Anna. Armin Mueller-Stahl is a Russian godfather; Vincent Cassel is his mess of a son. The eruptions of unsettling Cronenbergian violence include, notoriously, a ballsy bathhouse brawl — “one of the most electrifying fight scenes in modern movie history” (Toronto I.F.F.).

 

REVIEWS

"Eastern Promises instantly takes its place among David Cronenberg's very best films."

Village Voice | full review

"Cronenberg has become such an assured director that it's a pleasure to sit back and hand yourself over to his sick and singular vision."

Slate | full review