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
Even though this movie centers around Russian people, none of the actors who portray (partly) Russian characters are Russian in real life. See more »
During the public baths scene, when Nikolaï (Viggo Mortensen) walks toward the camera with Azim, you can clearly see on Viggo's left shoulder the Elvish tattoo he got while in New Zealand for the Lord of the Rings shooting (the tattoo is "nine" in elvish Tengwar writing). 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 »
The Indian television broadcast version was edited to achieve a U/A (parental guidance) rating. See more »
"Violence does, in truth, recoil upon the violent, and the schemer falls into the pit which he digs for another." Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
If Viggo Mortensen fighting naked in a London steam bath with some bad Chechens doesn't interest you, then perhaps I can offer you a second-tier Godfather with strong family "values" and exceptional acting. Director David Cronenberg in Eastern Promises comes through again with realistic violence and depressing ambiance, cast over by a humanity that even the Godfather has trouble matching.
Mid-wife Anna (Naomi Watts) happens on a prostitute's volatile diary in the emergency room. The London Russian mob, vory v zachone, wants it back because it implicates the son of kingpin Semyon (Armin Mueller-Stahl, Shine) in crimes. Driver to the mob, but good guy deep down, Nikolai (Mortensen), serves as the agent collecting the diary and carrying out the fate of those who have read it. As in most mob stories, loyalty is coin of the realm, so much so that even children of a don are not exempt from the rigid code. As in Dirty Pretty Things, young girls like body parts are bought and sold like slaves in a careless market.
Cronenberg's worlds are usually violent, topsy-turvy, and peopled by bipolar miscreants who have accepted the dangers in hope of riches or power but at the same time fight with themselves over the moral implications. So too in Eastern Promises where a helpless newborn topples a kingmaker and makes virtuous royalty of others. Getting the throne or that royalty is tough for Nikolai, whose naked fight to the death in the bath is a tour de force of violent ballet, even discounting Mortensen's other-worldly physique. Cronenberg's fascination with the body's vulnerability is memorable here, stripped down and utterly alone, like birth and death.
The majesty of Coppola's Godfather is partly here but more diluted; the array of complex characters in the Corleone family just is not duplicated. Yet Mueller-Stahl has Brando's quiet authority and Mortensen Pacino's quietly dangerous charm (when he says, "I live in the zone all the time," you can't help but wonder what secret turmoil lives in his heart). Neither Eastern Promises actor can possibly surpass those Godfather icons, but they and the film are promising affiliates of the royal gangland canon.
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