David Cronenberg’s latest film, Eastern Promises, bears a handful of the director’s trademarks. Some scenes of violence are blunt, though it is not yet time for our William Tell routine. The plot is tense and (obviously) leads to an ambiguous ending. Viggo Mortensen’s tragic hero, Nikolai, earns the sympathy of the audience because of his subdued performance.
Questions of commitment arise from both sides of the ledger: how far will you go to achieve your goals? «Peut ce qui veut.»
Values are vague — like other recently reviewed films, less separates good and evil than it first seems. One decision might lead down a thorny path that is difficult to escape. What ends justify the means? If the Vory V Zakone are one of the most brutally violent organizations in the world, is there a limit that restricts the methods employed to apprehend the gang?
A number of the principal characters are deeply conflicted. Nothing is black and while: among the shades of grey there are multiple sides to every issue from sexual identity to the value of life.
Or is it all part of a steep price?