A terrific new thriller called Eastern Promises (David Cronenberg and Viggo Mortensen’s follow-up to 2005’s A History of Violence) enters wide release this weekend, and I, like a whole slew of critics, recommend you check it out. But beware: The R-rated film is filled with blood and guts and graphic scenes in which all sorts of red stuff spurts from poor souls’ necks and torsos and eyes. It’s a marvelous movie, but not for the weak of constitution, that’s for sure.
Then again, what film this fall isn’t? For the new issue of EW, my colleague Tim Stack wrote an article about the trend toward dark and dirty fare at the multiplex in the waning months of 2007 (which is in stark contrast to what appears to be a notably lighter, more whimsical new TV season). Evidently, dozens of upcoming releases — Rendition, Hitman, No Country for Old Men, and so on — share Eastern Promises‘ violent M.O. So what gives? Many fingers point to our current post-9/11, IED-filled world. “These are dark, disturbing times,” Neil Jordan, who directed Jodie Foster’s revenge shoot-em-up, The Brave One, says in the story. “Movies have to reflect the times we live in. [The Brave One] is about violence, pure and simple. It struck me as an appropriate theme at the moment.” But then one wonders: How does all of this realistic bloodshed affect movies’ marketing campaigns — both to consumers and Oscar voters? You’d think it might turn folks off to certain movies, but just look at, say, last year’s The Departed: It earned $132 million and won Best Picture. What does that say about us?
Anyway, check out Tim’s article and then let us know what do you think: What would you say is the most violent film of all time? What violent movie sequences do you remember squirming through?