Eastern Promises (2007)
A remarkably non-visceral film from David Cronenberg, as he turns his interest to emigrated Russian mafia in London. He is, however, able to include a highly embellished and quite humorous knife fight between two naked males in a sauna. This is one of quite a few scenes in Eastern Promises filled with the prominent aura which is characteristic of Cronenberg, and which gives this otherwise rather conventional mobster film something of an edge. Another edge is the acting, which is consistently top notch. It is great to see Armin Mueller-Stahl back in action, as he fills out the shoes of Russian paterfamilias Nikolai brilliantly. Equally impressive is Viggo Mortensen in a layered role as Nikolai. Through Mortensen, Eastern Promises is a thematic follow-up to Cronenberg's previous History of Violence, but despite the partly controversial subject matter, this junior release doesn't hit you in the gut or come off equally cerebrally challenging as the previous outing did.