Welcome to Framed, a column at Cinematical that celebrates the artistry of cinema -- one frame at a time.
For most of his career, Canadian director David Cronenberg has been known for his intelligent and disturbing genre films. However, Cronenberg isn't just a horror filmmaker -- he's a genuine auteur with a keen visual eye and a recurring set of thematic concerns that turn up in the majority of his work. Unfortunately, it has taken the director crossing over into more mainstream fare to get people to notice how truly talented he is. Yet, even Cronenberg's more commercial cinema marries beautiful imagery and extreme violence in an uncomfortably alluring fashion. One need look no further than his work with actor Viggo Mortensen for proof of that.
Today we'll be looking at a frame from one the duo's collaborations, 2007's Russian mob drama Eastern Promises.
Mortensen plays Nikolai, the chauffeur/cleaner for a Russian mafia boss in London. He meets Anna (Naomi Watts), a midwife, after she starts snooping around in his boss' business when she finds a diary on a young Russian girl who dies in childbirth. Nikolai tries to keep her out of harm's way while rising through the ranks of the Russian crime syndicate and finding his own life in peril. It's hard to discuss the film's narrative with any more detail than that because to reveal too much ruins what is a masterful film. Trust me when I say that if you haven't seen Eastern Promises, you should.
You should also stop reading here because there is a big spoiler ahead. Hopefully you'll see the movie -- which is definitely a Blu-ray worthy purchase -- and then come back to read the analysis.