NPR logo 'Eastern Promises'

Arts & Life

'Eastern Promises'

Viggo Mortensen in 'Eastern Promises'

Viggo Mortensen is reportedly only the second actor — after Jeremy Irons — to collaborate twice with Eastern Promises director David Cronenberg. Peter Mountain/Focus Features hide caption

toggle caption Peter Mountain/Focus Features
  • Director: David Cronenberg
  • Genre: Thriller
  • Running Time: 100 minutes

(Requires RealPlayer)

David Cronenberg's follow-up to A History of Violence involves a Russian chauffeur (Viggo Mortensen) who doubles as an undertaker for the mob, a London midwife (Naomi Watts), an infant born of rape, an incriminating diary and a kindly old restaurant owner (Armin Mueller-Stahl) who is not remotely what he seems.

It also includes a number of grisly assassination attempts by members of the vory v zakone — otherwise known as the Russian mafia — all filmed with harrowing realism by longtime Cronenberg cinematographer Peter Suschitzky.

One struggle to the death between a nude Mortensen and two black-clad, knife-wielding thugs in an old London bathhouse is almost operatic in its violence. Cronenberg fans will be elated.



Please keep your community civil. All comments must follow the Community rules and Terms of Use. NPR reserves the right to use the comments we receive, in whole or in part, and to use the commenter's name and location, in any medium. See also the Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Community FAQ.