THE PLANK SEPTEMBER 14, 2007
In case anyone missed them, my take on Paul Haggis's In the Valley of Elah is here, and my thoughts on Julie Taymor's Across the Universe are here. But if you're trying to decide what movie to go to this weekend my strong recommendation would be David Cronenberg's Eastern Promises. My full review should be up tomorrow, but here's a short tease:
"I am driver," explains Viggo Mortensen early in David Cronenberg's Eastern Promises. "I go left. I go right. I go straight ahead. That's it." In fact, moviegoers should be pleased to know that the moral maneuvers undertaken by Mortensen's character, a low-level hood in London's Russian underworld, are considerably more interesting than advertised: swerves, veers, dips, even a u-turn or two. In structural terms, the protagonist of the film is a midwife played by Naomi Watts. But on a gut level this is Mortensen's movie, and he makes the most of it....
I would describe Mortensen as a revelation in the role, had he not already demonstrated what he was capable of in his previous collaboration with Cronenberg, A History of Violence. As he did then, Mortensen shows himself more comfortable with darkness and ambivalence than he ever was with the gaudy heroism required of a king in Middle Earth.
Update: The full review is here.