Eastern Promises, The Brave One, Across the Universe
David Cronenberg has a new film set in the underworld of the Russian mafia, and Paul Haggis follows his Oscar-winning Crash by turning to the Iraq War with Tommy Lee Jones in the lead. We'll also
Tom Fudge: The first new movie on our list is called Eastern Promises , directed by film maker David Cronenberg. About a year ago, Cronenberg impressed many reviewers with A History of Violence . And violence also plays a big role in his new movie.
In this movie, a Russian prostitute dies as she gives birth to a baby in a London hospital. The nurse who delivers the child tries to find out who the father is. And she follows a clue that leads her to a restaurant that turns out to be run by a member of the Russian mob. The man knows the girl who gave birth and died, and he wants to get his hands on a possibly incriminating diary the girl wrote.
In the movie, we get to know the mobster's stumbling son. The mobster's more sympathetic chauffer strikes up a friendship with the nurse who is put in danger. The winding story tells of immigration, exploitation and organized crime in modern London. The movie stars Viggo Mortensen who also played the lead in A History of Violence . It's written by Steven Knight who wrote the film Dirty Pretty Things .
In The Brave One , actress Jodie Foster plays a contemporary version of the vigilante character made famous years ago by Charles Bronson. This time, Foster plays Erica Bain who is – guess what – a public radio talk show host in New York. But the articulate intellectual gets attacked, along with her fiancé, in Central Park. He is killed. She goes into a coma. And when she wakes up, look out! She buys a gun and takes out her anger on the bad criminals that suddenly seem to be all around her.
The movie in which Erica becomes “the law" is directed by Neil Jordan – who is not known for crime thrillers. He's best known for two off-beat films starring transvestites: The Crying Game and Breakfast on Pluto .
The final movie we're going to discuss is Across the Universe . Basically, this movie is a songbook of Beatles tunes, performed to tell a love story between an English boy and an American girl in the sixties. In a way, it's like an old-fashioned American musical that doesn't try to present a complex story, but was created to feature the music.
The lovers are named Jude and Lucy. If you think they're named after the Beatles' tunes, Hey Jude and Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds , you're right. In fact pretty much all the characters in this movie are given Beatles song names.
The music is sung by the two lead actors and by some names you'll have heard of. Bono, of U2 , performs I Am the Walrus in one scene. The movie is directed by Julie Taymor, who directed the film, Frida, and, who created the visually arrested Broadway version of The Lion King .
- Beth Accomando , KPBS film critic.
- Scott Marks, film critic and the author of the film blog Emulsion Compulsion .