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'Eastern Promises' (****)

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Posted: Friday, September 28, 2007 10:00 pm

Over the course of the past four decades, David Cronenberg has been one of the world's most consistently bizarre filmmakers. With movies like "Videodrome," "Naked Lunch" and "eXistenZ," he established a niche as the premier guru of metaphysical weirdness. Then came 2005's "A History of Violence," which marked Cronenberg's apparent embracement of the mainstream. Yet it wasn't a sellout - on the contrary, it represented the best work of his career. His follow-up, "Eastern Promises," is a similarly "standard" genre piece. Yet, like his previous film, there's a lot more going on beneath the surface.

Though he's working within the confines of a mainstream production, Cronenberg remains his same old subversive self. Superficially, "Eastern Promises" is simply a thriller dealing with the underworld of the Russian mafia. But at its core, it's about what all of Cronenberg's films are about: the duality of man.

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