In the forests of the Pacific Northwest, a father devoted to raising his six kids with a rigorous physical and intellectual education is forced to leave his paradise and enter the world, challenging his idea of what it means to be a parent.
Riding across Manhattan in a stretch limo in order to get a haircut, a 28-year-old billionaire asset manager's day devolves into an odyssey with a cast of characters that start to tear his world apart.
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
One day after shooting, Viggo Mortensen went to a pub without washing off his tattoos or even changing out of his costume. He claims that some of the patrons became very frightened of him, assuming he was a real member of Vory v Zakone. See more »
After being admitted to the family, Nikolai goes to the cellar to tell Kirill. They both drink brandy from a bottle and its content varies from almost full to half empty between shots. See more »
He says "Christmas." So I say to him,
"Should we go shopping?"
The kid's 16. He says, "But uncle, it's Christmas."
See more »
Ever since Cronenberg started making "straight" movies without (too many) splatter elements, something in his oeuvre had been lacking. "Spider" was beautifully photographed but a complete and utter bore. The much praised "A History Of Violence" had a great cast and a solid premise, but turned out to be just as boring and on top of that far-fetched and superficial. "Eastern Promises" finds Cronenberg finally coming to terms with his new "realistic" approach to movie making.
It's a little wonder that there haven't been too many serious movies about the Russian Mafia, yet, so having a movie that takes place in these circles is fascinating all by itself. Cronenberg sets the story up slowly, but nicely. He never falls into the trap of slowing things down too much as he did with his previous two movies. Cronenberg also avoids getting too close to the style of the genre's Big Kahuna, Martin Scorsese. This is a completely original effort, which sets it apart from 2007's snorefest "American Gangster", that didn't contribute anything new to the gangster genre at all.
The cast is, of course, very helpful. Viggo Mortensen and Vincent Cassell look threatening, cold-blooded and emotional all at the same time. You really forget the actors and start looking at them as the characters they embody. Armin Mueller-Stahl who plays the gangster boss wasn't quite as convincing. During the movie we hear all those cruel and crazy things he's done, but when we see him on screen we can't really imagine that he's capable of all that. The weakest link in the cast, however, is Naomi Watts, who plays the same way she always does and comes across as pretty one-dimensional. She has deservedly gotten a lot of praise for "Mullholland Dr." but failed to present a comparably great performance ever since. She's just good enough not to ruin the intensity of this movie.
"Eastern Promises" is aesthetic, explicit and thrilling. There are some scenes you won't forget for weeks to come (the sauna fight, the opening sequence). In short, what we have here is a modern classic. One of last year's finest and possibly the best movie David Cronenberg has made so far.
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