Viggo Mortensen gives an amazing physical and emotional performance in the new film by David Cronenberg

By People Staff
October 10, 2007 01:00 PM

Eastern Promises

Cast: Vincent Cassel, Viggo Mortensen, Naomi Watts
Written By: Steven Knight
Director: David Cronenberg
Rated: R, for brutal violence, and some scenes with sexual images and strong language

Grade: A-

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David Cronenberg, Canadian director of films like The Fly, Crash and Dead Zone, is known for his fascination with teratology in horror flicks. But more recent projects like Spider, A History of Violence and now Eastern Promises demonstrate his desire to explore the complexities of the human mind.

The director reunites with his colleague from A History of Violence, Spanish-speaking actor Viggo Mortensen (raised in Argentina), in this bloody suspense flick about a midwife who uncovers evidence that puts London’s Russian mafia in jeopardy.

Mortensen plays Nikolai Luzhin, a Russian chauffeur who seems to be a good-hearted thug. Naomi Watts plays Anna, the British midwife and threat to the Russian mob. The two get involved in a twisted plot of homicide, kidnapping and power-seeking.

The acting job by the cast is phenomenal, but Mortensen stands out for his ability to play the silent-but-deadly villain. His Russian accent adds credibility to an already stellar performance, one that should put him in the running for an Oscar.

Some scenes are so cruel they might send you on a trip to the bathroom, but the film promises more than just white-knuckle terror. Eastern Promises will be one of the best films of the fall.