Eastern Promises

Viggo as Nikolai

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Viggo as Nikolai

...in 2007 (when he was nearly 50), Viggo Mortensen showed not just one of the great bodies in modern film, but naked commitment to one of the screen's most uncompromising fight scenes. He was playing a Russian gangster living in London, speaking very good Russian, and acting as cool and sultry as Brando. There's a scene in that film, Eastern Promises, where his character, Nikolai, stubs a cigarette out on his own tongue. At that moment, all was made clear: Mortensen was an old-fashioned star, as confident and as taciturn as Gary Cooper.
Viggo Mortensen

By David Thomson
The Guardian,
10 April 2009

.....keep your eyes on Mortensen. You could make an entire movie about the way that guy just stands in a room and quietly scans the atmosphere for even the slightest molecular disturbance.

Come to think of it, Eastern Promises may be that movie.

By Geoff Pevere
Toronto Star
6 Sept 2007

Viggo Mortensen is missing. Yes, that actor on the screen looks like him--and he certainly possesses the same quiet assurance when he speaks and physicality when he fights. But more like a magician than actor, he has disappeared into the world of Eastern Promises.

Finding Viggo Mortensen
By Susan Thea Posnock
Awards Daily: Oscar Watch
12 December 2007

It's a watershed role for Mortensen and, such is the commitment he offers, it's not too rash to compare his performance to Robert De Niro's Oscar-winning turn as the young Don Corleone in The Godfather Part II.

I've taken on too much...
by James Mottram, The Independent / UK.
23 October 2007

"I think people should see it just for his performance alone."

Naomi Watts on Viggo
Good Morning America
6 Sept 2007

"Viggo's an artist," said a movie exec and Mortensen fan during the Toronto fest. The way he said it underlined "artist."

Naked Viggo Mortensen: artist at work
By Lisa Kennedy
Denver Post Film Critic

CS: Did you get a chance to see any of the other movies while you were in Toronto for the premiere of "Elizabeth"?

Rush: I did. I saw "Across the Universe," which I thought was an absolute beautiful work of genius, and I saw "Eastern Promises," in which Viggo Mortensen is giving one of the great, great powerful screen performances. It's absolutely amazing.

Geoffrey Rush
Geoffrey Rush Revisits The Golden Age
By Edward Douglas, Coming soon.net
5 Oct 2007

"Viggo Mortensen gives a great screen performance.........He's completely inside his imaginative world, creating a character using invisible technique. There's a great kind of personal stamp that's idiosyncratic for the character. He explores extreme parameters within the character on his own terms and therefore creates someting entertaining and thrilling for an audience to get involved with on their own imaginative level."

Actor Geoffrey Rush after seeing the film at Tiff
Naked Viggo Mortensen: artist at work
By Lisa Kennedy, Denver Post Film Critic
14 Sept 2007

"Viggo is so minimal and so stoic. His performance in 'Eastern Promises' is one of the best I've seen all year. Viggo is such an inventive actor; he is wonderfully intuitive, and he has great improvisational skills. He does great preparation. I understand he watched Russian TV for hours. He just looks Russian in 'Eastern Promises.' There's one scene where Naomi Watts gets on the motorcycle. Viggo is standing by a post and not moving: 'Where'd you get that bike?' I was impressed with how minimal he was; I just bought that he was a Russian hitman. And I love the fight scene, and doing it nude is quite an achievement. You have no protection, no room for pads. You have no room for faking. Yes, I'm going to vote for Viggo."

Dennis Hopper
Variety Awards News
29 November 2007
Last edited: 16 February 2010 05:00:20