An Unfaithful And Broken Asset.
Cronenberg has a smart stable method to work his way up on the ladder. His simplicity, and even cliches, has a panache that any filmmaker would die to have for. His lucid flow on storytelling is why it all looks so simple and easy. He doesn’t rely much upon antics, but when there are their to work upon, he makes sure he builds them up sincerely and weaves them out sharply on the screen. Take the holy ceremonial or mythological ritual sequence that these gangs go through before claiming their titles or roles in their community. That entire sequence where Mortensen surrenders himself to their religion or the game that they believe in and feed themselves in, says a lot about the integrity of these characters.
These tiny characteristics of the characters is why we care, this attractive nature of theirs makes us root for them from the start. There isn’t much action in the film, but only once does Mortensen throws a punch, and that entire sequence is not only well choreographed and shot but also brilliantly performed. Nikolai; the protagonist, played powerfully by Viggo Mortensen is not your average Godfather-like mafia member, he wants to prove himself and he does.
Naomi Watts cloaking as Anna, the sort-of voice of the reason of the film has unfortunately very less to invest. In fact, Vincent Cassel as a spoiled brat has much more threat to convey with his uncertainty. Stephen Knight, the writer, is not overprotective or melodramatic about his content, he gives up easily but wisely, he makes sure that there is another surprising layer attached to it, to ground the emotions and justify these killings. Eastern Promises has a promising premise, scoffing off the usual crime drama rigmarole, David Cronenberg focuses on the heart of these characters.