Eastern Promises

Director - David Cronenberg

Genre - Crime/Drama/Mystery/Thriller

Overhyped movie about the Russian mafia directed by David Cronenberg who did exceptionally better with 'A History of Violence', also acted by Viggo Mortensen. The movie is let down by a soap opera-ish script that is overly melodramatic despite its violent scenes. The whole movie feels disappointingly like a tv-pilot for a mini series. Mortensen's Russian accent is terrific but it's not enough to save this movie.


All about Eastern Promises


Colleeny said…
I loved this film. I left the theatre stoked over just how good it was. Made my top 10 of 2007. The violence was great (hell the steam bath fight was awesome), but my favorite parts were the interactions between Viggo & Watts. The Melodrama you downplay were the highlights for me.

Good concise review.
Fox said…
Agreed. I watched this a second time when it came out on video and I still felt mediocre about it.

Although, I part with you on the liking *A History of Violence*. I disliked that one even more. Maybe I've cooled on Cronenberg... I don't know.
Renegade Eye said…
Two stars is unfair.

The movie had the best fight scene, maybe in movie history.

The acting was excellent. Viggo and Watts soared.
Colleeny said…
oh ya I forgot. Single hottest kiss on film for 2007.

Thanks for the comments.

Leeny - Top 10 of 2007? We knew this review would cause many people to be a little outraged. The movie has generated quite a bit of acclaim and we are well aware of that. However, the melodrama is exactly what killed it for us :)

Fox - You have to watch 'History' again. It was definitely a more complex film than 'Eastern'.

Renegade Eye - The fight scene was good but one good scene does not make a good movie. All the other parts were so sappy. Honestly, we were expecting commercial breaks to come on. The overall style was just to 'tv-series'.
matt said…
As a huge Cronenberg fan, i must say this is a much stronger film than A HISTORY OF VIOLENCE was, not that HISTORY was bad by any means; I love it. This was my absolute favorite movie of 2007, trumping even NO COUNTRY and BLOOD, which I take it some hold in high esteem :). And I don't think melodrama is what's wrong with this. If that's the issue, then why did you like HISTORY so much? That thing is soaked in melodrama like a Sirk film.
Thanks for the comment Matt.

There's a very mean vibe in 'History', 'No Country' and 'Blood'. All these films even though they have elements of melodrama, but it didn't feel awkward. In 'Eastern', the script had very brutal scenes and then parts where it just felt uncomfortably like it didn't gel.
Ed Howard said…
History of Violence was the letdown, a very straightforward and bland thriller with only a few distinctive Cronenberg touches. On the other hand, Eastern Promises was a complete return to form. Cronenberg's unique sensibility, his handling of actors and his signature obsessions, were inscribed in every frame. It's a masterpiece, one of the best films of 2007. It seems like its complexity and subtlety, the way it subverts action movie expectations, have thrown quite a few people off the trail. The film's not really about its supposed action movie plot, but about the undertones of sexuality, family relations, identity, and perverse desire. The tonal disparity you detect between the violence and the melodrama is exactly what Cronenberg intended, and exactly what makes the film so great. It's supposed to be uncomfortable. My review goes into what I saw in the film in quite a bit more detail.
Thanks for the comment Ed.

To call 'History' bland in comparison to 'Eastern' is an outrage. 'History's script was much better written and original. 'Eastern's script was merely a Hallmark tv movie with graphic sex and violence.
Patrick Donohue said…
I'm really surprised by this review. I really didn't enjoy History... that much and found Eastern Promises to be a much more enjoyable film and a much stronger performance by Viggo Mortensen. For the record, it also made my top list for 2007, towards the bottom half but definitely one of my favorite films of the year.
Hi Patrick, we were surprised by our reactions to 'Eastern' as well. We just didn't like it. In 'History', Viggo's character had more layers and he had to deal with a very real and difficult moral dilemma.

He was just a two-bit gangster in 'Eastern'. An errand boy for Vincent Cassel for most of the movie.

Can't we all just get along and put this matter to rest? :)
Shubhajit said…
I agree with you in that A History of Violence was undoubtedly a better film - a masterpiece in its own right, but i certainly don't agree with your views on Eastern Promises. It IS a very good movie. The brutality masks a very subtly told tale on honour, jealousy, personal trauma and Russian-style "family". And the violence - WOW!!! Do have a go at my review & let me know your comments (though going by your strong views i presume you will disagree).