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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Trans-Siberian Affair
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...
Published on Dec 10 2007 by Amanda Richards

versus
3.0 out of 5 stars Not what i expected
It wasn't a bad movie by any means, I think I just went into it with all sorts of other expectations. It's an above average crime movie, the story is a little reminiscent of Chinatown, and there's a cool naked fight scene. Viggo does a convincing German accent too.
Published 14 months ago by Jesse


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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Trans-Siberian Affair, Dec 10 2007
By 
Amanda Richards (Georgetown, Guyana) - See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)    (HALL OF FAME)   
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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5.0 out of 5 stars Eastern Steelbooks, June 22 2014
By 
Mikki D. "Mick" (London Ontario Canada) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Eastern Promises: SteelBook Edition [Blu-ray + DVD] (Blu-ray)
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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4.0 out of 5 stars Great unexpected pleasure., July 29 2013
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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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3.0 out of 5 stars Not what i expected, July 25 2013
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It wasn't a bad movie by any means, I think I just went into it with all sorts of other expectations. It's an above average crime movie, the story is a little reminiscent of Chinatown, and there's a cool naked fight scene. Viggo does a convincing German accent too.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Great Movie, April 25 2013
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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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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars "Sometimes birth and death go together"-Eastern Promises, May 29 2008
By 
Jenny J.J.I. "A New Yorker" (That Lives in Carolinas) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
Film noir was (and is) one of the most celebrated sub-genres in American film. Thus it's strange to see how few noirs have been made since their golden age in the forties and fifties. There was Polanski's masterful "Chinatown", the handsomely crafted and atmospheric "L.A Confidential", and if you're willing to stretch the idea, Michael Mann's menacing, dreamy "Collateral" felt rather nourish. And now we have David Conenberg's "Eastern Promises"--at its heart merely a well-made crime mystery, taken up a notch by Cronenberg's grisly, brutal direction--a follow-up to his masterful "A History of Violence", to add to that list of modern noir.

Plot-wise, EP has enough twists and turns to keep viewers interested in its dark, seedy tale. Its central mystery revolves around the diary of a 14-year-old Russian girl, discovered by an English midwife Anna (Naomi Watts) after the girl gives birth and subsequently dies. Since the diary is written in Russian, Anna takes it to a Russian restaurant to get translated (after her bitter Uncle at first refuses). It is here she meets Semyon (Armin-Muehl Stahl), a man who speaks so eloquently you know he's rotten to the core.

And he is. In fact, he's the head of an entire crime syndicate; mostly though, we the audience get to know two members of his entourage: son Kirill (Vincent Cassel) and their driver Nikolai (Viggo Mortenson). The performers are all great; Naomi Watts brings some personality to a character who seems to be written with none, Vincent Cassel is memorable, and Stahl's presence radiates with calm power.

Of course, it's Viggo Mortenson's performance everyone is talking about. His presence as a calm, calculated killer is chilling and tense; he's just as great here as his subtle burn in "A History of Violence", his accent unflawed and his rage openly bared. His already infamous fight scene (spectacularly choreographed) is his tour-de-force moment for sure, but it is here where its possible to see what the entire project is: an average thriller made more intense and set apart by Cronenberg's visceral and simply revolting use of violence. Some moments in this film are among the most squeamish you'll ever see, but that's the limit of the film's power.

For whereas "A History of Violence" was relevant, horrifying, masterful, suspenseful and haunting (staying in your mind long after its end; getting under your very nerves even), "Eastern Promises" is merely a passable story served up with the Cronenberg touch. Its ending even felt a little incomplete to me, a few elements unexplained (and not in a good, open-ended way). But against all other contenders out there this season, it's worth a look.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Cronenberg and Mortensen a winning team yet again, Jan. 12 2008
By 
Matthew King - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
"Eastern Promises" is a very engaging film by Canadian director David Cronenberg. It's about a Russian mafia member (Mortensen) who gets tangled up with an British doctor (Naoi Watts) after a pregnant prostitute dies and the baby is found, and links to the mafia present itself. Mortensen delivers a phenomenal performance, worthy of an Oscar. This is one of the best gangster movies to surface in quite some time. Subdued and restrained, except in certain surprise scenes (like the bathhouse scene) where violence erupts so suddenly as to shock the viewer. Essential viewing.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Cronenberg Delivers Again After "A History of Violence", Nov. 29 2010
By 
Moodywoody (Ottawa, Canada) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
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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4.0 out of 5 stars Cronenberg and Mortensen -- and Steve Knight -- get it right, Feb. 4 2009
By 
Darrell Reimer "whiskyprajer" (The Great White North) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
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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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the best films of 2007!! Eastern Promises delivers!!, Jan. 7 2008
Eastern Promises is an amazing film. It's masterpiece. David Cronenberg directs this movie which centers around the Russian mafia and a diary and a newborn baby. Naomi Watts is living with her parents in this movie- when she finds a diary that belongs to the mother of the child and she dies. The doctors are able to save the baby and the events that follow intertwines all the characters in this movie.

It is the best film of 2007!!
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