Today I wanted to talk about a film which I feel is one of the more underrated ones out there. Both the director and the star of this film, David Cronenberg and Viggo Mortensen deserve to be lauded for bringing Eastern Promises to us. Of course there are stellar contributions all around which includes Naomi Watts and writer Steven Knight. But the real reasons for the film being so enthralling to watch, is the work of David and Viggo. A director and actor combo that has always produced excellent films.
At around the end of the 2nd act, there is a fight scene between Mortensen’s character and two gangsters who are out to kill him. There are a couple of reasons in my opinion as to why this fight is so memorable. The first is the setup. When I first saw the villain Semyon say that he is going to feed his son to the gangsters, I was taken aback. But the more I thought about it, it seemed to make sense as this is an incredibly ruthless man who is not above letting his son get killed. This is where the scene reached its first peak. As it is gradually revealed to us that it is Mortensen who has been set up, it is such a punch in the gut that I had to applaud the way Semyon had set the whole thing up. The second is quite obviously the fight itself.
I would like to talk about the reaction I had while watching it. Over a long period of time of watching films, there are few fights that remain stuck in my head as they have left such an indelible impression. This is certainly one of them. What hits you is the sheer rawness present in the scene. Even though I knew that this is just a movie, there were a few instances where the action made my forget that momentarily. That I feel is the mark of a truly wonderful film. Every one of the actors involved in the scene, has to be appreciated for their dedication to bringing out the brutal intensity of the fight. The tension doesn’t drop until the last frame. At the end of the fight, Nikolai looks like a man who is just relieved to be alive and Mortensen does a brilliant job of conveying the tenacity and a hint of fear present in the character. After the dust settles, we are left with our jaws open at what we have just witnessed. For me, this was the sequence that elevated the film from being great to becoming something truly memorable.
Until next time, bye.