So this week is Eastern Promises week… Russian mobsters, tattoos, bathhouses and square haircuts. Wow – Viggo rocked this film with some amazing preparation and a big dose of bravery. Thanks to his skills, Cronenberg's taut direction and Steven Knight's great screenplay, the critics went mad for his performance as Nikolai and it all ended with Viggo's first Oscar nomination (I like saying 'first'!). Can you believe it was 10 years ago? If only there had been an EP2. Love the first quote for all kinds of reasons…
… at the risk of sounding like the proprietor of one of his countless fan pages, Viggo Mortensen is just amazing as Nikolai. He's the ideal Cronenberg anti-hero: gentle and macho at the same time, as charismatic as Steve McQueen and as beautiful as a saint in a master painting.
13 Sept 2007
Nikolai is an unforgettable cinematic event…
Matthew de Abaitua
Channel 4 News
18 October 2007
Mortensen is a standout as Nikolai, doing a credible accent and stripping down to a body that looks like it was carved out of a Siberian glacier.
The Birmingham News
21 Sept 2007
Mortensen's character does the skillful cinematic equivalent of an intellectual striptease during the course of this story. Slowly, ever so slowly, bits of my first impression are stripped away, destroyed. In the end, Nikolai is nothing at all like I first imagined, and yet he is all that I imagined.
'Eastern Promises' a gripping mob thriller
21 December 2007
No, Mortensen is not Russian, but don't even think about the problem of an accent; he digs so deeply into the role you may not recognize him at first. At a time when movie fight scenes are as routine as the dances in musicals, Nikolai engages in a fight in this film that sets the same kind of standard that The French Connection set for chases. Years from now, it will be referred to as a benchmark.
Chicago Sun Times
14 Sept 2007
The fight scene kicks all sorts of ass, and mock me if you will, but I don't think I blinked once.
Aint it Cool News
13 Sept 2007
Viggo Mortensen, whose tightly coiled star turn recalls the magnetic work of Hollywood's greats of yore.
8 Sept 2007
Mortensen is a glowering marvel, locating a great range of expression in impassivity, his stone face prone to compelling split-second fissures.
By Adam Nayman
30 Aug 2007
Viggo Mortensen dares you to take your eyes off of him.
14 Sept 2007
Mortensen plays the character so strongly the movie stops being about anything or anyone else. The more we get to know him, the denser his mystery gets. His experiences soon embody the harsh truths of being a part of this underworld. It culminates in what is sure to become the most talked about scene in the film -- a hand-to-knife-in-hand struggle in a Turkish bathhouse. Mortensen foregoes bodily modesty in a raw fight scene that literally lays bare this subculture's history of violence.
Mortensen is the reason to watch this movie...
15 Sept 2007
Mortensen plays this role as if he had different blood chemistry than the rest of us. Nikolai remains eerily still until he's moved to act; then he glides forth with reptilian grace. Yet something still glows at the bottom of those half-lidded eyes - enough to suggest the cobra has a soul.
14 Sept 2007
From the way his shoulders are set to the way he lights and smokes his cigarette, everything about Mortensen's Nikolai is convincing. Any clip from the bath house scene would make the best darned Oscar clip ever.
23 December 2007
The visceral and gritty performance of Viggo Mortensen is like a tornado. It knocks us off our feet, and swallows us whole.
25 Sept 2007
His performance is flat-out brilliant.
When you look into Mortensen's eyes, you're convinced that he's come to terms with the fact that he's condemned to eternal damnation and is living his life accordingly. His performance is chilling and mesmerizing, perhaps the greatest of his career.
That movie guy Blog
10 Sept 2007
The film is easily this generations Godfather and begs for a sequel. Or at least, I will beg for a sequel. PLEASE.
Best DVDs of 2007
10 January 2008
One of the most engaging and prolific American actors of our time, Viggo Mortensen has worked with a remarkably diverse array of auteurs throughout his career, ranging from Brian De Palma to David Cronenberg to Lisandro Alonso. In a special one-night engagement at Metrograph, he discusses his extraordinary performances in Eastern Promises and his latest, Captain Fantastic.