Cronenberg Delivers On His Promises

Just came back from an early afternoon screening of the new David Cronenberg movie Eastern Promises. Starring Naomi Watts and Viggo Mortensen (who appeared in Cronenberg's excellent last offering A History Of Violence), it's out in UK cinemas on October 26. No spoilers will follow...

Essentially a Russian gangster movie set in London, Eastern Promises belies its lousy title to deliver a gripping, punchy tale. Like A History Of Violence, it's far straighter in narrative terms than a more abstract Cronenberg classic like Videodrome. But when the nastiness kicks in, you can certainly see his fingerprints. A bath-house knife-fight almost took my frickin' eye out. One scene in particular, during that battle, is just begging for a DVD replay - it's one of the most remarkably realistic acts of violence I've ever seen in a film.

So Cronenberg hasn't lost his ability to shock. Yet his seeming reluctance to adopt an entirely traditional and predictable approach turns out to be one of Eastern Promises' flaws. It ends roughly quarter of an hour before you expect it to, on a strangely unsatisfying note. This notwithstanding, it's a must-see for fans of the Canadian director and modern-day mobster flicks alike. Oh, and Viggo fans will be delighted to hear he gets all kinds of naked...

9 comments:

Jon Peacey said...

Glad to hear that Cronenberg's continuing the run of greats that began with Crash (admittedly that's only 5!). Also glad to finally find someone who actually shares my high regard for A History Of Violence...

I can't recall the last time I saw violence realistically put on screen though. They do tend to get it wrong so it'll be interesting to see it done right.

Jason Arnopp said...

Hello Sir! Well, I didn't mean that it's especially true to life. More a brutal special effect which is bafflingly convincing.

Anyway, you. When are you going to start your blog? Do it for Satan. Go on.

Elinor said...

Yes, Jon, why are you holding out on us?

History of Violence is in my top ten as well.

Jason Arnopp said...

Christ, he's already done it. Started *Monday*, if you please!

We'd better link the gentleman up.

Jon Peacey said...

Convincing special effect, right, gotcha. I may have been suffering a brain-freeze there. They do seem to be doing the whole convincing special effects thing better everyday. They get car crashes wrong all the time too.

Blogwise, it started itself by mistake. I was looking to see how to do it and pressed the wrong button. Didn't know it was so in demand... all two of you! Wasn't going to mention it... didn't want to blow own trumpet and other random easily misinterpretable phrases.

I noticed one minor problem with the whole blog-thing... I don't have anything to say.

Also can't work out how to put spaces between paragraphs.

Jason Arnopp said...

May I speak frankly, Judge Peacey? Nothing to say, my arse. You're forever popping up in blog comments, babbling like a brook!

Half the time I can't understand what you're on about, but you're saying stuff nonetheless. ;)

Jon Peacey said...

Half the time I can't understand what I say: my evil twin has stolen my passwords. :-)

...when he's popping up on other blogs he's reacting not proacting (if that's a word).

Lucy said...

I love History of Violence too.

"All kinds of naked"??? How many types of naked are there? Here was I thinking you get a bloke to get his kit off, full stop and then you do evil stuff to him. Damn living in the country all these years.

Jon Peacey said...

You obviously missed that Robbie Williams (*shudder*) video...