Eastern Promises (2007)

(In theaters, October 2007) People change, and that’s the only explanation for why one of the most unpredictable horror/fantasy director of the eighties would grow up to be one of the dullest suspense filmmaker of the new twenty-first century. After the plodding A History Of Violence, David Cronenberg is back to small-scale crime drama with Eastern Promises, and the result isn’t more enjoyable despite a change of location to London. It’s not a badly made film: Cronenberg has full control of his film, and there’s never a time where we don’t feel in the hands of a master craftsman. But at the shining exception of a lengthy full-male-nudity fight scene in a bathhouse (which is going to seal Viggo Morgenstein’s Oscar nomination), there is little energy to this feature film. It sputters from one scene to another, sometimes with a twist and most often not. Low-octane and low-interest: at least it’s low-annoyance too. On the other hand, who’s going to remember anything about this film aside from the naked fight?

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