Eastern Promises

User Score
7.0

Generally favorable reviews- based on 250 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Negative: 48 out of 250

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User Reviews

  1. LuciD.
    Feb 22, 2009
    10
    This is for an educated audience. (not for a supposed 8-year-old niece that can write a script about Russian organized crime as noted in a non-critical bashing review) The mind-set is for the R rating, maturity and international crime solving group. Viggo Mortensen received a long deserved Oscar nom for his ability to get into his character's skin on this one. Well worth the watch This is for an educated audience. (not for a supposed 8-year-old niece that can write a script about Russian organized crime as noted in a non-critical bashing review) The mind-set is for the R rating, maturity and international crime solving group. Viggo Mortensen received a long deserved Oscar nom for his ability to get into his character's skin on this one. Well worth the watch and will put you on the edge of your seat; as well as open-a closed mindset. Expand
  2. DanielT
    Apr 8, 2009
    8
    Flawed, yes. But it's both riveting and compelling. The primary reason I rate this movie as "good" to "very good" is that it brings to light some important issues and is entertaining. If you want highly authentic material however, this isn't the film.
  3. FredD
    Sep 18, 2007
    10
    Please ignore Murdoc. He has obviously never understood Cronenberg if he thinks this was a "miss". It's 100% DC and 100% great. Disturbing as all heck and brutal as can be. Ends somewhat abruptly (2 hours in I was happy to be sitting there for 1 more). Viggo absolutely has put his hat in the ring for best acting performance of the year with his turn as Nikolai.
  4. MichaelH
    May 4, 2008
    8
    I think the critics got this movie about right. The movie started out in typical Cronenberg fashion with stilted dialogue and characters but then it seemed to coalesce for the most of the rest of the movie around the plot and the character that Viggo Mortensen plays. Viggo does a great job of embodying this man, he seems like a guy who has been in a Russian prison and he overcomes his I think the critics got this movie about right. The movie started out in typical Cronenberg fashion with stilted dialogue and characters but then it seemed to coalesce for the most of the rest of the movie around the plot and the character that Viggo Mortensen plays. Viggo does a great job of embodying this man, he seems like a guy who has been in a Russian prison and he overcomes his pretty boy looks to great effect. Naomi Watts is a little stereotyped as the nurse character and is not quite as believable though she is nice to look at and doesn't detract from the movie overall. This is more conventional than the usual Cronenberg movie and I think that in this case this was a good thing. Expand
  5. Alex
    Jul 20, 2009
    9
    I don't know what movie the commentators below saw, but I have to vehemently disagree with the criticisms. Yes, there are certain gaps in the script that are never brought to light, but to focus only on that is to miss the entire point of the film. It's not attempting to be an episode of CSI. It's more of an exploration of the polarities between right and wrong. It reveals I don't know what movie the commentators below saw, but I have to vehemently disagree with the criticisms. Yes, there are certain gaps in the script that are never brought to light, but to focus only on that is to miss the entire point of the film. It's not attempting to be an episode of CSI. It's more of an exploration of the polarities between right and wrong. It reveals humanity in the most improbable places. People need to understand that THIS IS A MOVIE. A piece of art is not intended to immaculately recreate reality, but rather illuminate an underlying message. So, to anyone reading this, do yourself a favor and focus on the poignancy of the story as opposed to the forensic inconsistencies. This is a great, worthwhile film, with superb acting by Mortensen to boot. Expand
  6. RoseL
    Oct 17, 2007
    9
    Absolutely Excellent! Exciting, intense and visually stunning, I cannot believe anyone could find anything to criticize. This is a must-see!
  7. ke
    Dec 27, 2007
    9
    Better than A History of Violence. The shower knife fight scene was awesome and the story was really engaging. The only thing that turned me off was the first scene, which was a little unwatchable and I wanted a little more out of the ending. Still a must see for anyone who likes crime or gangster films. Or a must see for everyone
  8. BillyS.
    Oct 5, 2007
    8
    After A History of Violence, David Cronenberg and Viggo Mortensen team up again for Eastern Promises and the results are even better this time. Mortensen has never been better and Naomi Watts is perfect. I may be jumpin' the gun on this one, but this could be the best actor/director collaboration since the hallowed days of Scorsese and Deniro. A must-see for all film lovers and Oscar After A History of Violence, David Cronenberg and Viggo Mortensen team up again for Eastern Promises and the results are even better this time. Mortensen has never been better and Naomi Watts is perfect. I may be jumpin' the gun on this one, but this could be the best actor/director collaboration since the hallowed days of Scorsese and Deniro. A must-see for all film lovers and Oscar watchers!! (you'll be hearing Easter Promises a few times come January.) Expand
  9. DanielJ
    Oct 8, 2007
    10
    Eastern Promises is truly a terrific piece of film-making. The writing is so precise and subtle, with hints of foreshadowing, brilliant dialogues, and outstanding character development for all the major players. The acting is superb all around, with Mortensen and Mueller-Stahl shining the most. The directing, too, is very precise, especially in scenes that you can tell are impossibly hard Eastern Promises is truly a terrific piece of film-making. The writing is so precise and subtle, with hints of foreshadowing, brilliant dialogues, and outstanding character development for all the major players. The acting is superb all around, with Mortensen and Mueller-Stahl shining the most. The directing, too, is very precise, especially in scenes that you can tell are impossibly hard to convincingly piece together (i.e. the bath-house fight). Watching the film a second time, you can really pick up on many of the subtleties that reflect the complexity and brilliance of all the aspects of this film. Eastern promises has a great shot at getting Oscar nominations for Viggo Mortensen (actor), Mueller-Stahl (supporting actor), and original screenplay, but I wouldn't be surprised if it snagged a couple extras as well. Expand
  10. JohnK.
    Oct 9, 2007
    9
    absolutely phenomenal film that incorporates great acting, errie cinematography, suspenseful direction and an engrossing plot to produce one of the best efforts of the year. a must-see for any fan of kronenburg, tarentino, haggis, or HBO; it incorporates all the elements of modern filmmaking that have been sacrificed for the sake of commercial success; a violent, edgy, character-driven absolutely phenomenal film that incorporates great acting, errie cinematography, suspenseful direction and an engrossing plot to produce one of the best efforts of the year. a must-see for any fan of kronenburg, tarentino, haggis, or HBO; it incorporates all the elements of modern filmmaking that have been sacrificed for the sake of commercial success; a violent, edgy, character-driven dialogue-fest that impresses the viewer on multiple levels. Expand
  11. JaredC.
    Sep 11, 2007
    8
    French and spectacular. This dazzling performance by Naomi Watts and Viggo Mortenson are sparkling with magnificence, excellent of drama watchers.
  12. GerryM.
    Sep 14, 2007
    10
    What a strange, brutal movie.
  13. JoshC
    Sep 17, 2007
    10
    People are going to hear a lot about this, so I may as well begin with it: There's a fight scene in David Cronenberg's Russian mob thriller "Eastern Promises" that is sure to go down as a raw, brutal and pulse-pounding landmark in the history of fight scenes. It takes place in one room, with no props except for a couple knives. People in the audience at the screening I attended People are going to hear a lot about this, so I may as well begin with it: There's a fight scene in David Cronenberg's Russian mob thriller "Eastern Promises" that is sure to go down as a raw, brutal and pulse-pounding landmark in the history of fight scenes. It takes place in one room, with no props except for a couple knives. People in the audience at the screening I attended were flinching and gasping as if they were being punched in the face. Which, of course, is the idea. If a fight scene doesn't make you feel like you're part of it, so that it quickens your heartbeat and your breathing, then it's a failure. And Cronenberg's makes you realize how many movie fights are flops -- and how really hard it is to kill or immobilize a human being with your arms, legs, feet and hands. Literally and figuratively, "Eastern Promises" has guts. And in this sense, it reminds me of both the excruciatingly protracted struggle between Paul Newman and the Russian agent in "Torn Curtain," and the knock-down, drag-out fist-fest between Keith David and Rowdy Roddy Piper in John Carpenter's "They Live! Directed in a bold, graphic style similar to that of his previous film, "A History of Violence," "Eastern Promises" is shockingly gorgeous, for all the ugliness it portrays. The film is set in London, and the colors are dark and heavy: gray skies, slick black streets, brandy, absinthe, venous blood. A hospital midwife (Naomi Watts) finds a patient's diary that gets her involved with Russian gangsters -- in particular, a shrewd and ambitious chauffeur played by "History of Violence" star Viggo Mortensen. It begins like a Cronenbergian horror movie, and becomes... a Cronenberg gangster movie -- an elemental struggle between good and evil, life and death, east and west, blood and money, trust and betrayal, commerce and morality, mind and body. Remember, that's "elemental," not "simplistic." There are... complications. Expand
  14. DougN.
    Sep 21, 2007
    8
    Psychologically dark, very good movie.
  15. MikeM
    Sep 27, 2007
    9
    If there is one thing Cronenburg is so good at, its taking a movie beyond the limits of being just a movie. It is more a study of the human being, and their behaviors and nature, and how they act and who they are, and who they pretend to be. This movie takes you into the lives of the Russian mob, a very dark, disturbing place to be, and a family of a young woman (played by Naomi Watts), If there is one thing Cronenburg is so good at, its taking a movie beyond the limits of being just a movie. It is more a study of the human being, and their behaviors and nature, and how they act and who they are, and who they pretend to be. This movie takes you into the lives of the Russian mob, a very dark, disturbing place to be, and a family of a young woman (played by Naomi Watts), her uncle and aunt find themselves thrown into the chaos. They discover a diary of a young prostitute, and this diary has a lot of power in this movie. Muehller-Stahl, who plays the leader of the vory V Zakone brotherhood, is absolutely terrific, and can shoot one glance that could freeze you, and then cut you to pieces. He is menacing, not in his actions, but in his look alone. Also, Viggo Mortensen delivers the performance of his life, playing this mysterious, off-put, odd friend of the son of the brotherhood leader. He can exude both evil, and kindness in just a few different shots. The action in the movie is real, and it is haunting, and one scene in particular will most likely stick with you in your head for quite some time. This is a movie to be taken seriously, and deep, deep under its seemingly simple layers of story, lies a very interesting tale that leads through the cobwebs of the Russian mob, and just what happens when family is messed with. This is a very good piece on humanity, and it is something not to be missed at a time when all Hollywood can chock up are lame Dane Cook films and same-old same-old "kill the zombie" movies. Expand
  16. KatherynH.
    Sep 29, 2007
    9
    Oscar-winning performances here, you betcha! Masterly performances by Mortenson, Mueller-Stahl and Cassel with wonderfully complex characterizations. Go see it!
  17. chad
    Jan 2, 2008
    9
    i really enjoyed this movie. i was a little nervous coming in to watch it because i thought cronenberg's last movie, a history of violence, was a complete and utter waste of time and had way too much pointless sex and violence, however eastern promises seemed like a more interesting and story driven movie and i think naomi is a great actress so i bought the dvd and was extremely i really enjoyed this movie. i was a little nervous coming in to watch it because i thought cronenberg's last movie, a history of violence, was a complete and utter waste of time and had way too much pointless sex and violence, however eastern promises seemed like a more interesting and story driven movie and i think naomi is a great actress so i bought the dvd and was extremely happy with my purchase. the acting is extremely good all around, but most notably cassel playing kirill was the best. the story was interesting and never bored me. The directing was good and there was never a dull camera angle. Overall this is my favorite mob/gangster movie. It definitely beats out goodfellas, casino, and the godfather. pick it up and watch it if you havent, but dont if you cant handle the violence and nudity Expand
  18. neighborgray
    Jul 27, 2009
    9
    This has got to be one of my favorite films of all time. A suspenseful crime drama encased in an almost surreal experience. With Viggo Mortensen giving another outstanding performance along side Vincent Cassel. While this movie does has its flaws, it is defiantly not for the A.D.D generation expecting non-stop action. Truly a film that only comes around once a life time.
  19. ee
    Oct 11, 2007
    9
    Totally compelling, memorable, at times shocking. One of the year's best. You can't take your eyes off Viggo Mortensen in this Oscar-worthy role.
  20. zoodude
    Oct 14, 2007
    9
    Excellent movie... easily one of the best I've seen this year!
  21. Hughie
    Oct 17, 2007
    10
    Scorsese hasn't made a movie this good in 20 years!
  22. PeerP.
    Oct 18, 2007
    10
    This was the best film I have seen in months (and I see many). Worth whatever it costs, 10 times better than a History of Violence, hopefully it will get the award attention it deserves.
  23. JonL.
    Oct 18, 2007
    10
    Excellent character study of a deeply scarred man. Interesting aspect of the movie is the barely-veiled homosexual relationship between two of the vory v zakone. The famous bathhouse fight scene is still jarring and visceral even when you are expecting it.
  24. [Anonymous]
    Oct 8, 2007
    10
    extraordinary view of evil and decency, malice and family, with an honest non-romatic view of gangsters, killers and the Russian mob.
  25. AaronS.
    Sep 14, 2007
    9
    Cronenberg's most conventional film to date. Of course by anyone else's standards, this would be a most unusual film. That doesn't make a lesser film though. It's a great entertainment with a number of interesting ideas bubbling underneath the surface. It's look at the strange world of the Russian mafia is fascinating and the deceptively simple narrative builds to Cronenberg's most conventional film to date. Of course by anyone else's standards, this would be a most unusual film. That doesn't make a lesser film though. It's a great entertainment with a number of interesting ideas bubbling underneath the surface. It's look at the strange world of the Russian mafia is fascinating and the deceptively simple narrative builds to a surprising final half hour. Climaxing with a brilliantly staged fight scene set in a public bath house. Mortensen is terrific and is deserving of some awards recognition. The well chosen supporting cast is perfect. 'Eastern Promises' is minor Cronenberg in the end-but that's still better than 95% of the stuff Hollywood churns out these days. Highly recommended-but not for the squeamish. It is D Cron after all. Expand
  26. MarkG.
    Sep 15, 2007
    10
    Without a doubt the most thrilling and satisfying movie of the year thus far. Mortensen ridiculously good. A potential classic.
  27. Ange-AimeeW.
    Sep 16, 2007
    10
    I have never submitted a vote to these sites but I did not want anyone to be misled into not seeing this movie. It's one of the best I've seen in years. A new classic. Amazing performances from the actors and a plot that will surprise even the most jaded movie watcher. I normally would not recommend Cronenberg for the squeamish, but this one everyone should see.
  28. MarkD
    Sep 20, 2007
    9
    Honestly, this movie rivals Goodfellas as far as a great Mafia Movie..
  29. PaulD.
    Sep 22, 2007
    10
    This movie pulls no punches, literally, and figuratively. It begins with a brutally violent scene, which demonstrates the compelling nature of a person following orders, against their own will, and ends quietly, with a scene reminiscent of the contemplation of Michael Corleone in Godfather II. An amazing cast, with mesmerizing performances by Mortensen, and Mueller-Stahl. The shower fight This movie pulls no punches, literally, and figuratively. It begins with a brutally violent scene, which demonstrates the compelling nature of a person following orders, against their own will, and ends quietly, with a scene reminiscent of the contemplation of Michael Corleone in Godfather II. An amazing cast, with mesmerizing performances by Mortensen, and Mueller-Stahl. The shower fight scene is a heart stopper. Naked, brutally graphic, gritty and bloody. More than just a gangster movie. A real insight into human nature. Expand
  30. MartinB.
    Sep 23, 2007
    8
    I've always wanted to share my thoughts about movies since I watched Transformers, which in my opinion is one of the best action movies to come out this year. For someone who grew up watching the cartoon, the movie was a dream come true, and I also believe Michael Bay(the director) put a lot of us to shame by delivering a worthy product ... but I digress. My intention is to share I've always wanted to share my thoughts about movies since I watched Transformers, which in my opinion is one of the best action movies to come out this year. For someone who grew up watching the cartoon, the movie was a dream come true, and I also believe Michael Bay(the director) put a lot of us to shame by delivering a worthy product ... but I digress. My intention is to share thoughts on movies I love like the one I just saw, and ones I truly loathe and would gladly request for $9 back...case in point - "The Reaping" "Eastern Promises" is movie directed by David Cronenberg. You may remember him from "A History of Violence". Every one remembers that movie...Seeing Maria Bello in her cheer leader outfit alone was worth the price of admission... then there was the sex scene on the steps. I suggest you rent or purchase it immediately. Back to "Eastern Promises"...The main actors are Viggo Mortensen, Naomi Watts, Vincent Cassel and Armin Mueller-Stahl; I'll get to information about their performances soon enough. Without giving much away, the story is basically about a nurse who unfortunately witnesses a 14 year old Russian girl giving birth and dying during labor. She embarks on a quest to find out more about the girl's family and also have her diary translated. On the nurse's quest of discovery, she ends up getting involved with some really vile people, mainly the Russian crime family - Vory V Zakone. The rest of the movie unravels the mystery behind the dead girl, and eventually the father of the baby.Warning! If you are not a fan of violent movies, you will not enjoy this movie. There's enough extreme violence to make the toughest guy squirm. One scene in the steam room is particularly disturbing to watch. I was impressed by all the actors. Naomi Watts, who I last saw playing the love interest of a mega-sized gorilla, put on quite a performance. Her character is the nurse who drove the story, but this is not a role she'll be remembered for...Armin Mueller-Stahl plays the owner of a restaurant and is also affiliated with the Vory V Zakone. Vincent Cassel plays his crazy son Kirill, who much to his father's chagrin, is also rumored to be gay. The true star of the movie is Viggo, who plays Nikolai, a mysterious driver who definitely wants to move up in the family. His russian is fluent, and his accent is perfect. It's almost hard to imagine him speaking in another accent after this movie. He accent and grammar really did sound like his spoke a Slavic language natively. It was very interesting to watch him play his role so flawlessly. In all, this was a pretty good movie. I believe David Cronenberg and Viggo should make more movies together. They certainly have a formula that works. Expand
Metascore
82

Universal acclaim - based on 35 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 32 out of 35
  2. Negative: 0 out of 35
  1. It’s engrossing, and Mueller-Stahl’s mix of Old World chivalry and murderousness is scarier than Jason and Freddy combined.
  2. 88
    In Eastern Promises, shot to envelop by the great Peter Suschitzky, Cronenberg brings us face to face with the horror of self.
  3. 70
    Cronenberg made a movie called “The Dead Zone,” and I sometimes wonder whether, for all his formal brilliance, he has ever torn himself away from that locked-in, airless state of mind. You walk out of Eastern Promises feeling spooked and sullied, as if waking from a noisome dream.