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Eastern Promises [UMD for PSP] (2007)

Viggo Mortensen , Naomi Watts , David Cronenberg  |  UMD for PSP
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (304 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Viggo Mortensen, Naomi Watts, Vincent Cassel
  • Directors: David Cronenberg
  • Format: Dolby, NTSC
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Studio: Twentieth Century Fox
  • DVD Release Date: January 15, 2010
  • Run Time: 96 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (304 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0018HC4BW
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #400,171 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Special Features

None.

Editorial Reviews

David Cronenberg's signature obsessions flower in Eastern Promises, a stunning look at violence, responsibility, and skin. Near Christmastime in London, a baby is born to a teenage junkie--an event that leads a midwife (Naomi Watts) into the world of the Russian mob. Central to this world is an ambitious enforcer (Viggo Mortensen) who's lately buddied up with the reckless son (Vincent Cassel) of a mob boss (Armin Mueller-Stahl, doing his benign-sinister thing). Screenwriter Steve Knight also wrote Dirty Pretty Things, and in some ways this is a companion piece to that film, though utterly different in style. The plot is classical to the point of being familiar, but Cronenberg doesn't allow anything to become sentimental; he and his peerless cinematographer Peter Suschitzky take a cool, controlled approach to this story. Because of that, when the movie erupts in its (relatively brief) violence, it's genuinely shocking. Cronenberg really puts the viewer through it, as though to shame the easy purveyors of pulp violence--nobody will cheer when the blood runs in this film. Still, Eastern Promises has a furtive humor, nicely conveyed in Viggo Mortensen's highly original performance. Covered in tattoos, his body a scroll depicting his personal history of violence, Mortensen conveys a subtle blend of resolve and lost-ness. He's a true, haunting mystery man. --Robert

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
126 of 137 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Intriquing, well-acted, ADULT-THEMED thriller! December 1, 2007
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
I emphasized the "ADULT-THEMED" idea in my title because one of the best things about seeing a film like EASTERN PROMISES is that it is so adult, so uncompromised. Cronenberg gets to make the movies he wants to, and it doesn't have to be watered down or dumbed-down to make it sell to a broad audience. We get a brutal, sometimes squirm-inducing look at a underworld we haven't seen like this before...and there's no gloss, no pandering to a teen audience, no sappy ending, etc. etc. The ending is SATISFYING...but it isn't easy or "Hollywood."

First of all, the script is outstanding. From the creator of another stunning film about London's "seamy underbelly," DIRTY PRETTY THINGS...the plot makes sense, the threads all come together and the characters are simply but sharply delineated. Yet at no time do I feel the themes are being spoon-fed. Also, some of the acts that are perpetrated on Viggo Mortensen's character near the end of the film are acts of amazing betrayal...yet if you haven't been paying attention, you might miss that. It's not a super-complex plot...but it doesn't grab you by the hand and lead you from place to place.

Speaking of Mortensen...this is his best performance ever. Granted, Aragon is crown-jewel, and he handled it well...but those films were events, such spectacle that often what he simply needed to do was wear his costume, ride his horse and look great. In EASTERN PROMISES, he has to make us care about a very nasty piece of work indeed. He's also very stony-faced...so much of what we learn about him, especially early on, comes from very subtle work. Again, each word of the script is perfectly chosen, and Mortensen digs deep here. He's not always my favorite actor...
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27 of 30 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars 'Eastern Promises' Delivers! December 25, 2007
Format:DVD
EASTERN PROMISES as written by Steven Knight and directed by David Cronenberg is one of the grittiest, insightful, and well-acted films of the year. Maintaining his keen eye for the dark side of life and the people who dwell in its shadows, Cronenberg has once again brought us characters so strongly etched on film that they will be remembered for many years.

The setting is London where lives the enigmatic Russian-born Nikolai Luzhin (Viggo Mortensen in an Oscar caliber performance) who serves as a driver for a cloaked mysterious Russian family, members of the Russian mafia called the Vory V Zakone, a bizarre brotherhood populated with men whose lives of crime are told in tattooed stories on their bodies. The head of the family is the elegant restaurateur Semyon (Armin Mueller-Stahl) whose son Kirill (Vincent Cassel) carries on the crime aspects of the family but shows no role of leadership in his dissipated life style. As the film opens we observe the birth of a little girl to a drug-addled mother Tatiana (Sarah-Jeanne Labrosse): she dies during childbirth having been delivered by a midwife Anna (Naomi Watts) who herself has a history of a stillborn child. Anna finds a diary in Tatiana's purse, saves it, and takes it to her uncle to translate it form the Russian. Opening the diary opens dark secrets for Semyon and Kirill: Tatiana was apparently one of the many illegal Russian prostitutes imported by the Vory V Zakone crime syndication and was raped by Semyon whose daughter was born as Tatiana died. Anna's investigation as to the baby's heritage includes the invaluable help of Nikolai who despite his past has a soft spot for Anna and her plight and it is the manner in which the interplay of Anna, Semyon, Kirill and Nikolai works out that brings the film to its conclusion.
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48 of 57 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Trans-Siberian Affair December 9, 2007
Format:DVD
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, December 9, 2007
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Pleaseantly Surprised.
It was better than I was expecting. I was a little apprehensive in regards to the premise and how dark/or bloody things would get, but I was very pleasantly surprised. Read more
Published 3 days ago by Sarah S.
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Great
Published 6 days ago by E. Spaletta
1.0 out of 5 stars wont play
This DVD would not play. Only the title page played over and over. I returned it for replacement and the new one did the same thing. I gave up.
Published 14 days ago by Fred A. Giovannitti
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Movie!
My girlfriend and I watched it and we both loved it! Great storyline...great acting...just one great movie that keeps you wrapped up in the intrigue.
Published 1 month ago by Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars Eastern Promises
Viggo Mortensen definitly should have won the Oscar that year. I believe he was nominated for this stellar performance. He was incredible.

Moira
Published 1 month ago by Mike
3.0 out of 5 stars It's a OK movie
This movie starts off slow and takes a while to get going. I had trouble staying interested and it finally came to an interesting twist.
Published 1 month ago by mmdrevo
4.0 out of 5 stars One of Cronnenberg's best. Viggo shines.
A strong crude thriller. Reminds me of NARC. Aims for the throat and grabs you leaving you breathless and almost passed out. Highly reccomend it
Published 1 month ago by vy_low76
5.0 out of 5 stars Viggo, Viggo, Viggo
What more can I say. The story is edge of the seat exciting. It exposes the horror of the sexual enslavement of young women, and those who work to stop it. Read more
Published 2 months ago by LadyB
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing
How had I not seen this film until now? Fan of History of Violence or Cronenberg?

WATCH IT NOW! Amazing film.
Published 2 months ago by Scott B. Conditt
4.0 out of 5 stars gritty Russian mob film
Vigo and all supporting cast members are convincing and contextually violent. An interesting peek inside a world that we, as ordinary folk don't often have the 'privilege' to... Read more
Published 3 months ago by Mike Berkley, L.Ac.
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Book suggestions?
No, but a lot of other folks evidently feel the same way. I for one felt totally cheated. I have heard that Cronenberg approached Mortensen about a sequel but VM is apparently on leave from movie making (too bad). However, you can watch BBC's Spooks (MI5) which has hunky Richard Armitage fresh... Read More
Dec 25, 2009 by Judith Johnson |  See all 2 posts
One of Cronenberg's Best
I agree--it's terrific, and definitely in the same as 'A History of Violence.' It's interesting to me how Cronenberg has moved pretty far from the bio-tech/supernatural themes of his 70s/90s work to this more realistic vein.
Aug 14, 2007 by Kristi Coulter |  See all 3 posts
Song in Eastern Promises
I think the song you mentioned is "Just a Little" by Liberty X
Aug 30, 2008 by Blossom Burkitt |  See all 2 posts
Went to the movie Be the first to reply
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