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Eastern Promises (2007)

R  |   |  Crime, Thriller  |  21 September 2007 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.7/10 from 182,091 users   Metascore: 82/100
Reviews: 394 user | 349 critic | 35 from Metacritic.com

A Russian teenager living in London who dies during childbirth leaves clues to a midwife in her journal that could tie her child to a rape involving a violent Russian mob family.



(screenplay) (as Steve Knight)
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Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 28 wins & 67 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Mina E. Mina ...
Aleksandar Mikic ...
Soyka (as Aleksander Mikic)
Tatiana (as Sarah Jeanne Labrosse)
Badi Uzzaman ...
Doña Croll ...
Nurse (as Dona Croll)
Doctor Aziz
Helen (as Sinead Cusack)
Tatiana (voice)


In London, the Russian pregnant teenager Tatiana arrives bleeding in a hospital, and the doctors save her baby only. The Russian descendant midwife Anna Khitrova finds Tatiana's diary written in Russian language in her belongings and decided to find her family to deliver the baby, she brings the diary home and ask her uncle Stepan to translate the document. Stepan refuses, but Anna finds a card of a restaurant owned by the Russian Semyon inside the diary and she visits the old man trying to find a lead to contact Tatiana's family. When she mentions the existence of the diary, Semyon immediately offers to translate the document. However, Stepan translates part of the diary and Anna discovers that Semyon and his sick son Kirill had raped Tatiana when she was fourteen years old and forced her to work as prostitute in a brothel of their own. Further, Semyon is the dangerous boss of the Russian mafia "Vory v Zakone", jeopardizing the safety of Anna and her family. Meanwhile, Semyon's ... Written by Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Every sin leaves a mark.


Crime | Thriller

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for strong brutal and bloody violence, some graphic sexuality, language and nudity | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:




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Release Date:

21 September 2007 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Promesas del este  »

Box Office


£25,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$547,092 (USA) (14 September 2007)


£2,011,119 (UK) (16 November 2007)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs



Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Nabokov is also the name of a character who is mentioned in a conversation. See more »


When Nicolai is about to cut of the fingers from Soyka's dead body, he first puts his tie over his right shoulder. There is a camera angle change and the tie is back in its original position just as Nicolai grabs his tools. In the next shot the tie is back above Nicolai's shoulder. See more »


[first lines]
Azim: He says "Christmas." So I say to him,
[in Turkish]
Azim: "Should we go shopping?"
Azim: The kid's 16. He says, "But uncle, it's Christmas."
See more »


Featured in The EE British Academy Film Awards (2015) See more »


Slavery and Suffering
Traditional Revolutionary Song
Arranged by Dimitri Oleg Yachinov
Performed by The Red Army Choir under the direction of B. Alexandrov
Courtesy of Silva Screen Records Ltd.
Under license from FGL Productions
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

works so well on many levels...
14 September 2007 | by (New York City) – See all my reviews

It is not often that audiences today are treated to a film that has as many things going for it as Eastern Promises does. Whether it's because of interference from studios determined to make their products as marketable as possible, filmmakers who favor style over substance, or just a plain old shortage of originality, nowadays it is a treat when a film fan can leave the theater and feel affected by the artistry that he/she has just experienced.

On the surface, Eastern Promises is a straightforward crime story about people who don't appear to be terribly complex. But somehow, the combination of the narrative, the mood, and the humanness of the characters create an alchemy that transcends this film from something that could have been common into something quite unique and memorable. Noirish settings, dedicated medical professionals, and mobsters and their loyal henchmen are all commonplace enough in movies as to risk being clichés. Yet everything in this film about a London midwife who stumbles into contact with the Russian mob as she seeks clues to the identity of a teen who died in childbirth mesh together wonderfully and fully engage the viewer.

While it all starts with the script, credit must be given to the director, David Cronenberg for bringing it to life, and for the cast, who created living, breathing characters who the viewer cares about- whether they are likable or not, good or evil, or not quite so easy to read. They seem real.

At the core of the film is "Nikolai," the loyal chauffeur to the kingpin's volatile son. "Nikolai" is both enigmatic and mesmerizing. We know he is a man with a past and with secrets, but we really don't know what his goals and motives are. We don't know who he is, yet somehow, just as the half-Russian midwife, "Anna", we are drawn to him and trust that there is goodness in him, even as were are not quite sure we should. It is a skillful, yet understated performance that quietly blows you away.

Although Eastern Promises has some of the director's signature moments of eye-popping violence, they do not dominate this film and it is the quiet moments- where the characters are silently contemplating aspects of their own existence that give the film its power. We can see the introspection and pain on their faces, but the script leaves so much unsaid, and so much about the two main characters (played by Viggo Mortensen and Naomi Watts) we come to care about so much remain a beautiful, haunting mystery.

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