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September 18, 2007
Director David Cronenberg

Director David Cronenberg reopened an argument among critics and fans about violence in film when his latest, Eastern Promises, took the top prize at the Toronto Film Festival over the weekend. Eastern Promises, about Russian mobsters in London, has plenty of Cronenberg’s trademark shootouts and rub-outs, which some in the Toronto crowd said made it feel real. Others said it was distracting, unnecessary, and crass.

One thing that makes the violence in Eastern Promises distasteful is that it does nothing to move the story along, said Anthony Lane in NewYorker.com. “Violence is to threat, in his movies, as punch line is to joke: a source of glee to his fans, although every year I find it less amusing.” In Eastern Promises, it doesn’t “drive home the malice” of its characters, but instead shifts attention away from where it should be—on exploring “the spiritual sump where these characters live.” You leave the theater “feeling spooked and sullied, as if waking from a noisome dream.”

The problem with Eastern Promises is it’s not violent enough, said James Berardinelli in ReelViews.net. “Sadly,” there are “only two sequences likely to remind the viewer that he or she is watching a Cronenberg movie.” And other than those scenes, “the movie is lifeless” and ends on a note that makes it “feel unfinished.”

Cronenberg handles blood and guts with incredible finesse, said Dana Stevens in Slate.com. Eastern Promises is an “elegant treatise on the metaphysics of violence.” His character’s bodies suffer horrible damage, but “there’s a sense of respect for the body itself.” The violence is “ineluctable, brutal, and repellent, but it matters.” Even when his message isn’t entirely clear, “you leave his movies feeling unsettled in the best sense.” The Week Staff

7:59 p.m. ET
Alex Wong/Getty Images

Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, who died Saturday at the age of 79, had a way with words. In court, those words weren't so much spoken as thundered. And in his memorable dissents or important majority decisions, those words could often be described as biting.

The Catholic, Italian-American justice, the longest-serving on the court, was passionate about his belief in the Constitution and his faith.

"He was a hysteric in cases he cared about most," legal scholar Cass Sunstein told NPR. The cases that fired him up ranged from same-sex marriage and prayer in public school, to the death penalty and ObamaCare.

Scalia so intensely disagreed with the court's 2015 decision to uphold the Affordable Care Act ruling that he voiced his colorful dissent aloud from the bench, with phrases like "jiggery-pokery," "quite absurd," "feeble arguments," and "pure applesauce."

Words were important to Scalia, both in his reading of the Constitution ("The Constitution that I interpret and apply is not living but dead, or as I prefer to call it, enduring.") and in his "carefully crafted" opinions, which will live on long after his death.

Read more about Antonin Scalia's life, career, and legacy at NPR. Lauren Hansen

6:41 p.m. ET
Getty Images/Alex Wong

Following the unexpected death of conservative Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia on Saturday, Republicans and Democrats immediately began fighting over who should select his replacement. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said in a statement that "this vacancy should not be filled until we have a new president," while Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) said President Obama "can and should send the Senate a nominee right away."

Were Obama to nominate Scalia's replacement, it would dramatically refashion the ideological make-up of the court, with the reliably conservative Scalia almost certainly being replaced by a liberal like Obama's other two nominees, Elena Kagan and Sonia Sotomayor. Ben Frumin

6:12 p.m. ET
Getty Images/Kayana Szymczak

In the wake of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia's unexpected death on Saturday, several prominent conservatives argued on Twitter that the next president — and not President Obama — should select Scalia's replacement. Were a Democratic president to nominate Scalia's replacement, it would dramatically refashion the ideological make-up of the court, with the reliably conservative Scalia almost certainly being replaced by a liberal like Obama's other two appointments, Elena Kagan and Sonia Sotomayor.

Here's GOP presidential contender Ted Cruz:

And influential National Review writer Charles C.W. Cooke:

Expect to see a lot more of this. Ben Frumin

6:12 p.m. ET

After word spread of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia's unexpected death Saturday, presidential candidates mourned the longest-serving justice in statements and on Twitter.

Scalia reportedly died of natural causes Saturday at a luxury ranch in West Texas. He was 79. News of his death comes just hours before the remaining six Republican presidential candidates meet in South Carolina for their ninth debate. Lauren Hansen

5:49 p.m. ET
Chip Somodevilla/Getty Image

Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts confirmed the death of Justice Antonin Scalia on Saturday, mourning his colleague as "an extraordinary jurist, admired and treasured by his colleagues." Roberts called Scalia's passing "a great loss to the court," which may see its ideological make-up dramatically refashioned as the Democratic president seeks to replace the late conservative justice.

Here's Roberts' full statement. Ben Frumin

5:48 p.m. ET
Getty Images

Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia was found dead Saturday at a luxury resort in West Texas, according to federal officials.

Several state and federal agencies are conducting an investigation, but officials say it appears the 79-year-old died of natural causes. Scalia had arrived at the Cibolo Creek Ranch on Friday for a private party. When he didn't show up for breakfast, an employee of the ranch went to his room and reportedly found his body.

Scalia, the longest-serving justice on the Supreme Court, was appointed by President Ronald Reagan in 1986 and established a strong conservative voting record over his tenure. His death has the potential to dramatically reshape the ideological make-up of the court.

In a statement, Chief Justice John Roberts said he was saddened to hear of his colleague's death. "He was an extraordinary individual and jurist, admired and treasured by his colleagues. His passing is a great loss to the Court and the country he so loyally served."

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott echoed those sentiments in his statement, calling Scalia, "a man of God, a patriot, and an unwavering defender of the written Constitution and the Rule of Law." Lauren Hansen

2:16 p.m. ET
Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

The State Department marked 81 of more than 500 Hillary Clinton emails released Saturday as confidential, The Hill reports. Another three were upgraded to "secret" status, and none were marked "top secret," the highest designation.

None of the emails released Saturday had been marked confidential when they were originally sent.

The State Department still has more than 3,000 emails to release from Clinton's private server, which she used as secretary of state. Julie Kliegman

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