To quote the Wikipedia entry about the "pivotal fight scene":
Adam Nayman of Eye Weekly reported that director David Cronenberg said "Just don't give the plot away" and Nayman wrote "His request is understandable." Nayman said, "There is one scene – the in-depth discussion of which prompted the director's anti-spoiler request referenced at the top of this story – that should rank not only in his personal pantheon of spectacularly deployed gore but among the most exhilaratingly visceral patches of cinema, period, full stop." Chicago Sun-Times critic Roger Ebert noted Cronenberg's quote and agreed, saying "He is correct that it would be fatal, because this is not a movie of what or how, but of why. And for a long time you don't see the why coming."And this is what the article says about the use of weapons in the film:
The script made a point of excluding guns, and Cronenberg deliberately left any sight of them out of the movie. In an interview, Cronenberg explained, that the knives used in the film's pivotal fight scene weren't "some kind of exotic Turkish knives, they’re linoleum knives. [He] felt that these guys could walk around in the streets with these knives, and if they were ever caught, they could say 'we’re linoleum cutters.' "Where I should have been watching Cronenburg's subtlety and vision play out in a film conspicuously devoid of the mandatory gun fights, I saw one nano-second of a flash of steel from under dark coats and that was bloody all!! And in what I saw, forget "pivotal", the fight scene was hardly even worth calling a scene. Read the Critical Reception section of the wiki article. Roger Ebert and ten other people are going on and on about the fight scene and our wonderful, protective censor board has very considerately saved us from the horror by ripping the whole bloody thing out.
And I do suppose it's not worth the time and energy to rant about whether the censor board is qualified to make any such brilliant decision. But that question begs asking if the people that constitute these committees are going to emasculate movies thus. It is, I think, equally useless to lament that a movie that good and interesting ran for a mere week. If I'd been working, I highly doubt that I would have been able to watch the film, given its warm welcome in theatres, but if you can, you must watch it.
Eastern Promises is everything the critics say it is... and more. The direction's superlative, the acting precise, and the film is superb in its overall effect. The story unfolds brilliantly and might have turned out to be just another ordinary crime thriller if it was told by a lesser director. The 'why' of the plot will keep you thinking long after you've left the theatre. And if you liked A History of Violence, you'll love this one. Watch it on DVD, people. It's going to be a while till I can and I'd like very much to know whether the massacred scene is as brilliant as everyone says it is.
One last thing. I know I'm flogging a dead horse but I JUST don't get it when people behave idiotically in cinema halls AND have the audacity to get irritated at you for telling them to shut up!! I don't appreciate added, jarring sound effects in the middle of a much awaited film and incessant chattering through innumerable others. What is most galling is that guy next to you who very indignantly asks you if you're happy now that he's stopped ruining the dialogue. Or that row of cretins that catcalls back instead of shamefully shutting up. I don't get it. Not at all!