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Eastern Promises (Widescreen Edition) (2007)

Naomi Watts , Viggo Mortensen , David Cronenberg  |  R |  DVD
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (321 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Naomi Watts, Viggo Mortensen, Vincent Cassel, Armin Mueller-Stahl, Sinéad Cusack
  • Directors: David Cronenberg
  • Format: Multiple Formats, AC-3, Color, Dolby, Dubbed, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 5.1), French (Dolby Digital 5.1)
  • Subtitles: French, Spanish
  • Dubbed: French
  • Subtitles for the Hearing Impaired: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: R (Restricted)
  • Studio: Focus Features
  • DVD Release Date: December 23, 2007
  • Run Time: 101 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (321 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000YENUI6
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #18,958 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Eastern Promises (Widescreen Edition)" on IMDb

Special Features

  • Secrets and Stories
  • Marked for Life

  • Editorial Reviews

    Viggo Mortensen and Academy Award nominee Naomi Watts star in this electrifying thriller from critically acclaimed director David Cronenberg (A History of Violence). Criminal mastermind Nikolai (Mortensen) finds his ties to a notorious crime family shaken when he crosses paths with Anna (Watts), a midwife who has accidentally uncovered evidence against them. Their unusual relationship sets off an unstoppable chain of murder, mystery and deception in the explosive film critics are calling "provocative and engrossing" (Claudia Puig, USA Today).

    Customer Reviews

    Most Helpful Customer Reviews
    130 of 141 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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    29 of 32 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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    22 of 24 people found the following review helpful
    Just five days short of Christmas, a girl child is born. As she takes her first breath, midwife Anne (Watts) is calling the time of death of her teenage mother, Tatiana, who bears injection bruises on her slender arms.

    Perhaps it's the recent loss of her own child from a former lover, the time of year, or just her character in general, but Anne is deeply touched by the situation and vows to find the baby, who she's named Christina, a family and a decent life instead of institutionalized foster care. So she steps over the line and takes the mother's personal effects--a diary which is written in Russian.

    Despite being warned not to dig any deeper by her Uncle Stepan, a recent Russian emigre and former KGB agent (Skolimowski) and her English mother (Sinead Cusack), she goes to the one place where she has a clue in English--a Russian restaurant called the Trans Siberian.

    There she meets three men: Semyon (Mueller-Stahl), an older Russian who appears at first as a strong but benevolent father figure whose Borscht is almost identical to what Anne's own father used to make. Kirill (Cassel) a drunken and somewhat overdramatic heir to the throne and Nikolai (Mortenson) the very dispassionate driver for Kirill, who he's sworn a brotherly allegiance to.

    At first, Semyon denies knowing anything about the mother of the deceased young woman, but his interest piques when Anne tells him there's a diary. He offers to translate the diary and find the child's family for her. Anne at first demurs, suspecting Semyon is Vory v Zakone (Russian mob) but he's very persuasive and she agrees to return the next night.
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