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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
HALL OF FAMEon December 10, 2007
I'm actually not sure how to describe this movie, but I'll give it my best shot. First of all, Viggo Mortensen is outstanding as Nikolai, a driver and enforcer for the Russian Mafia, and full time baby-sitter to Kirill, the wayward son of Mafia boss Semyon. He's one cold, emotionless dude when he has to be, but has a human side that peeps out ever so often from behind that steely, chiseled mug.

Vincent Cassel (Kirill) and Armin Mueller-Stahl (Semyon) are also extremely convincing, the former as a violent drunk and the latter as the charming and affable, but very cruel father. Naomi Watts doesn't light up the screen and steal the show as she normally does, but it could be the depressing role of Anna, a midwife who delivers a baby for a fourteen year old girl who doesn't make it off the operating table.

Anne Frank may have left a more famous diary, but the diary of the unfortunate young woman is so revealing that some people are prepared to kill to keep the contents from being brought to light.

Fascinating in some aspects, such as the story behind the tattoos, and graphic in quite a few others, including a memorable scene with a totally nude Viggo battling against guys with linoleum knives, I found some parts a bit too long and drawn out, and some too predictable.

Never-the-less, the acting, the casting and the intensity of this drama make it extremely watchable (if you like this movie genre), and although it isn't going to be one of my favorite movies, it certainly is worth mentioning here.

Amanda Richards
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon November 29, 2010
Eastern Promises may not be a great film, but it certainly is a very good film. Cronenberg gives us a very worthy effort after his wonderful last film, A History of Violence. The film has terrific characters for the viewer to enjoy: the great stoic hero, played by the charismatic Viggo Mortensen; cruel and ruthless villains led by the devilish Armin Mueller-Stahl; and the sensual beauty of Naomi Watts, who offers Viggo's character a moral beacon of humanity. But most importantly, the film has great suspense and violent action which keeps the viewer totally engrossed in the story. In fact, the film has one of the most brutal, yet realistic, fight to the death scene that I have ever witnessed on screen. It is really unforgettable.

There are parts of the film when it seems somewhat slow, and one cannot help but wonder how a person could reach such a high level in the Russian mafia as an undercover police operative without committing cold blooded murder in the sight of his mafia comrades. However, these are minor criticisms in light of the emotional power and entertainment value of this film.

Cronenberg has evolved with his last two films, A History of Violence and Eastern Promises, into a master film maker. These two films display the maturity of a director who knows how to develop great characters, story development, and suspense in a movie, but like Alfred Hitchcock, doesn't forget that the primary purpose of a film is to entertain an audience. In my opinion, Cronenberg is becoming one of the most interesting and talented directors of our generation.

Eastern Promises is a very enjoyable film to view and I highly recommend it.
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on February 4, 2009
After watching Cronenberg trip himself up with comic book banalities in A History Of Violence, I didn't hold out much hope for Eastern Promises, which on paper reads with the same broad strokes: a downy naif has unquestioningly absorbed the presumptions of liberal democracy, and thinks she can change the world by standing alone and speaking the truth to power. Running parallel to her story is that of a ronin-type figure who has insinuated himself inside the corridors of power, and realizes there is no justice without embracing the methods and mindset of the enemy you hate. Thankfully, Cronenberg doesn't take the "Chatty Cathy" approach to character development -- we get to see ALL the principle characters slowly unfold through actions that eventually make enough sense to inform while keeping the narrative tight. This time Cronenberg isn't reinventing the wheel (The Fly) or attempting the impossible (Naked Lunch), he's delivering the goods -- including one of the most harrowing, physically persuasive fight scenes I've seen in years. Eastern Promises is a taut, focused thriller that left me, well, thrilled.

Post-script: while watching EP I kept thinking back to Stephen Frears' Dirty Pretty Things, but couldn't put my finger on why that was (beyond the fact that both movies explore immigrant ties in present-day London). Turns out they were both written by the same guy: Steve Knight, whose Amazing Grace is also a much much better movie than it had any right to be.
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on April 25, 2013
This movie I could not find in stores, I guess its a little bit older. But the movie was awesome, and had some very shocking twists at the end that I did not see coming.

Also it is a great peek into the Russian mafia. But over all it was a great movie and a good addition to my collection.
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on March 13, 2015
dark brooding, suspenseful, and , at the end, redeeming.
I hope Ms. Watts never retires. Never. Each project she improves her craft, and challenges us to keep up.
Challenge accepted, and most highly recommended.
It is strange to see Aragorn's descendant portraying such a heavy, though.
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on July 9, 2015
Delivery time was fine. I didn't notice the part where it said this isn't compatible with North American DVD players. Possibly my mistake. But.... The DVD is scratched badly, however it does work I just hope it keeps working.
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on July 29, 2013
I was unaware of this movie until i viewed it.Very glad i did as i enjoyed all aspects,solid script,good acting,strong directing.
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on June 22, 2014
The Eastern steel book is very nice. If you collect steelbooks, add this one to your collection. You won't regret it.
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on July 26, 2015
Eastern Promises is a great movie. Viggo Mortensen's performance is outstanding and very convincing.
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on December 30, 2014
Always a pleasure to see Viggo Mortensen and David Cronenberg at their best.
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