Review: Eastern Promises

Cronenberg at his best.
This is my submission for LAMB's latest addition of The Director's Chair. Not only is Eastern Promises my favorite Cronenberg film, it's easily in my top 5 favorite films of all time.

Nikolai (Viggo Mortensen) is a driver for a family associated with the Vory V Zakone, a dangerous Russian mob. He works for Semyon, (Armin Mueller-Stahl) who masks his crime with his posh Russian restaurant in London. His son, Kirill (Vincent Cassell) trusts Nikolai and is his constant companion. When Anna,(Naomi Watts) a midwife who has a young teenager die during childbirth on her shift comes across Semyon's business card in her diary. She goes to the restaurant looking for the girl's family so that she can send the child back to them. She soon learns that these people are dangerous to be around. Nikolai subtly tries to help her while trying to convince Kirill otherwise.

Cronenberg has directed a lot of great films, but this one is his best. The amount of research he and his actors put into this film is astounding. Cronenberg brings out the best in Mortensen, (in an Oscar nominated performance) Watts, and Cassell. Their accents are nearly perfect, everything down to the tattoos is as authentic as possible. Cronenberg did a lot of research on the Vory V Zakone. He noted that they use knives instead of guns, so you never see any of them wield a gun in the film. He studied the tattoos of many members and made sure Mortensen's matched. Something I found pretty funny was that Nikolai's ankle tattoos read "Where are you going?" and "Why the fuck do you care?" He also managed to choreograph one of the best fight scenes in cinema history. Admit it, that shower scene was damn impressive. Just listening to the commentary on the DVD shows how deep into this Cronenberg got and his hard work pays off.

Recommended: Yes

Grade: A+

Memorable Quote: "Sentimental value? Ah. I've heard of that." - Nikolai (Viggo Mortensen)


  1. ooh that fight scene was so boss. i didn't adore this movie (mostly naomi watts's part), but i do really like it. i enjoy cronenberg so much. and viggo? he's awesome.

  2. I really like Cronenberg as director. The amount of research he did for his project is just commendable. He and his actors put so effort in their film that you can't stop appreciating them. The direction and dialogues are awesome in this movie.


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