Tom's Recommended Film of the Week
was a film I had been looking forward to for some time. David Cronenberg and Viggo Mortensen were a potent teaming for A History of Violence and I expected the same impact from Eastern Promises. With it's Russian-American mafia crime basis, this film offers a story of mixed moral themes with characters exhibiting signs of good within the bad and vice versa. It's a film with calm sections and violent moments, much like A History of Violence.
The thing I like about Cronenberg in these recent projects is that he creates a simple seeming piece of entertainment within which he spins complex human emotions and drives. This structure allows for great viewing and lasting thought process from the active viewer. A few weeks after watching A History of Violence, I wanted to see it again because I had been thinking about it all that time. The same was true of Eastern Promises, though the story was actually quite different. In each case it was the themes and character motivations that kept me interested both while watching the film and thinking about it later.
To me, that is one of the signs of great movie making, an ability to keep the viewer involved after the film has ended.
All this being said, I should warn you that both A History of Violence and Eastern Promises contain brutal violence based in a criminal element. Like Stephen King, David Cronenberg has chosen a path, which may alienate his art from some potential consumers, but the fine honing of their craft remains undeniable.