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Eastern Promises 2007 ***

David Cronenberg coaxes a breath-taking performance from Viggo Mortensen in this violent, sordid thriller set in modern London.  When nurse Anna (Naomi Watts) finds a dying girl in a London hospital, she’s provided with a clue which connects the death to prosperous restaurant owner Semyon (Armin Mueller-Stahl), whose Son Kirill (Vincent Cassel) is set to inherit his criminal empire. Kirill’s driver Nikolai (Mortensen) is part of the team, and is all too cognisant of the dangers of taking on the organised crime syndicates that employ him. Written by Stephen Knight (Dirty Pretty Things), Easter promises features uniformly excellent performances, particularly from Mortensen; the brutal fight in a bath-house is one of cinema’s most intense and shocking action sequences, not least because both of the men fighting are vulnerably naked throughout.


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