Cronenberg’s Eastern Promises gets top prize in Toronto

Canadian director David Cronenberg’s new film Eastern Promises won the main prize, the Cadillac People’s Choice Award, on the last day of the Toronto Film Festival. It is a suspenseful, bloody drama about the Russian mob, set in London, with several big names in the leading roles.

Viggo Mortensen, who previously worked with Cronenberg on A History of Violence, plays a Russian-born driver who works for a family of mobsters with Armin Mueller-Stahl’s character at the helm. French star Vincent Cassel plays Stahl’s volatile son and Oscar nominated Naomi Watts plays a midwife trying to uncover the lineage of a baby of a teenager who dies at birth. All she has to go on is the teenage girl’s diary written in Russian and, as she begins to uncover the girl’s story, her life begins to dangerously intersect with the Russian mobsters.

Cronenberg was unable to collect the award since he is away in New York, busy promoting his new movie, which is getting excellent reviews and also doing well at the box office.

Thank You for Smoking director Jason Reitman’s new film Juno was the People’s Choice runner-up, followed by Body of War, a documentary about the veterans of the Iraq war.

The Fipresci prize, awarded by a jury of international critics, went to Rodrigo Pla’s La Zona, a film exploring the chasm between the rich and the poor in Mexico.

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