In 2005, Mortensen won critical acclaim for David Cronenberg’s crime thriller A History of Violence. Mortensen is politically active. He graduated from Watertown High School in Watertown, New York. After high school he went to St. Lawrence University in Canton, New York, earning a bachelor’s degree in Government and Spanish. in September 2007, the film Eastern Promises, directed by David Cronenberg, was released to critical acclaim for the film itself and for Mortensen’s performance as a Russian gangster on the rise in London. in 2009, Mortensen appeared as himself in the film Reclaiming The Blade, in which he discussed his passion for the sword and his sword-work in films such as The Lord of the Rings and Alatriste.