Universal acclaim - based on 35 Critics What's this?

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Generally favorable reviews- based on 211 Ratings

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  • Starring: , ,
  • Summary: The mysterious and charismatic Russian-born Nikolai Luzhin is a driver for one of London's most notorious organized crime families of Eastern European origin. The family is part of the Vory V Zakone criminal brotherhood. Headed by Semyon--whose courtly charm as the welcoming proprietor of the plush Trans-Siberian restaurant impeccably masks a cold, brutal core--the family is tested by Semyon's volatile son and enforcer, Kirill, who is more tightly bound to Nikolai than to his own father. But Nikolai's carefully maintained existence is jarred once he crosses paths at Christmastime with Anna Khitrova, a midwife at a North London hospital. Anna is deeply affected by the desperate situation of a young teenager who dies while giving birth to a baby. Anna resolves to try to trace the baby's lineage and relatives. The girl's personal diary also survives her, which is written in Russian; thus, Anna seeks answers in it. Anna's mother, Helen, does not discourage her, but Anna's irascible Russian-born uncle Stepan urges caution. He is right to do so: By delving into the diary, Anna has accidentally unleashed the full fury of the Vory. (Focus Features) Expand
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 32 out of 35
  2. Negative: 0 out of 35
  1. 100
    The actors and the characters merge and form a reality above and apart from the story, and the result is a film that takes us beyond crime and London and the Russian mafia and into the mystifying realms of human nature.
  2. Reviewed by: Todd McCarthy
    A superbly wrought yarn set in the milieu of first-generation Russian mobsters in London that is simultaneously tough-minded and compassionate about the human condition, Eastern Promises instantly takes its place among David Cronenberg's very best films.
  3. 90
    A dark and mesmerizing immersion into a distinctive world.
  4. The restraint of both director and actor makes this steely gangster drama reverberate long after it ends. This kind of mystery is rare in a film culture that demands answers before the credits roll.
  5. 75
    Here is an excellent crime thriller made with grown-ups in mind: Yep, it must definitely be fall.
  6. Reviewed by: Claudia Puig
    Eastern Promises has a compelling story and strong performances to back up what may seem excessive or sensationalistic.
  7. 50
    Eastern Promises is intensely anti-dramatic.

See all 35 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 69 out of 93
  2. Negative: 18 out of 93
  1. Nov 23, 2011
    a David Cronenberg masterpiece! Tough, blank and honest it gives the audience a good ( and pretty frightening) insight into the Russian Mafia, merciless and brutal crme gang. Going home after watching the movie one feels happy that it was just a movie..... Expand
  2. Jan 9, 2011
    Such a good film. I honestly think that Viggo Mortenson was robbed of an Oscar. Vincent Cassel was also very good as the smarthy, wormy Kirill. Naomi Watts wasn't awesome but Motensons performance more than made up for it. An excellently directed film and very well written. Expand
  3. j30
    Nov 15, 2011
    An uncompromising crime drama from David Cronenberg. This is an artist hitting his stride, first with History of Violence and now Eastern Promises. The film works both as an engaging drama and one hell of a thrill ride of a movie. Expand
  4. Nov 15, 2012
    Mortensen is fantastic here, and Naomi Watts could've been, but the way she was written brings limitations to the role. Overall, the film is excellent, but passes up on some opportunities that could've made it great. Expand
  5. Apr 13, 2011
    Mortensen was mesmerising, so much so I almost forgot the farrago of LOTR. It wasn't the same person. He was effortlessly menacing, yet still human; the plot and all the rest of the actors moved around him in the shadows - except for Armin Mueller Stahl who was (literally) the only genuine Russian. Vincent Cassel gave his usual panto performance. Naomi Watts was weak and couldn't transcend the implausibility she was being asked to cover up for.

    Everything tailed away somewhat disappointingly after a powerful first half and I was left watching the closing credits wondering what kind of fool I'd just been taken for. But at least I watched the closing credits because I was still thinking about it.
  6. May 22, 2013
    The best way to describe Eastern Promises is a boring bloody mess that is completely anti dramatic. A movie that piles cliché after cliché while tries to hide its lack of originality with gruesome violence. Expand
  7. Mar 20, 2011
    How can this movie get such a high rating ? It was awful, unbearable to watch. The acting was absolutely appalling, I cannot believe that good actors such as Mortensen and Cassel would agree to be a part of this ridiculous mess. The opening scene was so bad, you know the film can only get worse if it starts out bad. Absolutely horrible. Expand

See all 93 User Reviews