'Eastern Promises' Makes Good

Russian mob thriller a worthy follow up to History of Violence
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 21, 2007 9:43 AM CDT

(Newser) Eastern Promises, like director David Cronenberg’s A History of Violence before it, is a crime thriller starring Viggo Mortensen. And like Violence, critics love it. Its Russian mobsters transplanted to London are not characters, Roger Ebert raves, but “plausible human beings.” Mortensen stands out, having “just the ratio of machine to mortal that Cronenberg requires,” says the New Yorker’s Anthony Lane.

Lane takes issue with the movie’s gore quotient; the Village Voice says Promises could “almost pass for an exceptionally well-made B-movie.” Ebert applauds a naked fight scene that he says “sets the same kind of standard that The French Connection set for chases.” But it’s the film’s exploration of the human condition that makes it “one of Cronenberg’s very best,” Variety says.