Tagline: “From David Cronenberg … Director of A History of Violence”
Translation: Check out Viggo Mortensen’s halfway believable Russian accent!
The Gist: The action kicks off with a ominous scene in which investigators find a corpse on a beach and a disembodied voice intones “We think he might be Russian Mafia.” Chilling! A little more light commentary (“In Russian prisons your life story is written on your body”) and the action cuts to … Viggo Mortensen! Clad hunkily in black boxer-briefs and covered in, yep, tattoos. Thus the viewer is introduced to the menacing, creepy criminal at the heart of Eastern Promises, David Cronenberg’s latest work of atmospheric unease, also starring Naomi Watts, somewhat improbably, as a midwife frantically protecting the diary (and baby) of a dead girl who is somehow involved with nefarious mobster types. All that plus Vincent Cassel, glittering knives, a gratifyingly large number of shots of a bare-chested Mortensen, and a quick-cut, pulse-raising trailer finale. Oh, it’s on. —Sara Cardace