Eastern Promises (2007)

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Titolo originale: Eastern Promises–>
Genere: Poliziesco, Drammatico, Mystery–>
Durata: 100–>
Nazione: UK, Canada, USA–>

  • David Cronenberg

Scritto da:

  • Steven Knight (sceneggiatura – nel ruolo di Steve Knight)


  • Jeff Abberley (produttore esecutivo)
  • Julia Blackman (produttore esecutivo)
  • Stephen Garrett (produttore esecutivo)
  • Robert Lantos (regista)
  • Tracey Seaward (co-produttore)
  • David M. Thompson (produttore esecutivo)
  • Paul Webster (regista)


  • Howard Shore

Trama del film:

In London, the Russian pregnant teenager Tatiana arrives bleeding in a hospital, and the doctors save her baby only. The Russian descendant midwife Anna Khitrova finds Tatiana's diary written in Russian language in her belongings and decided to find her family to deliver the baby, she brings the diary home and ask her uncle Stepan to translate the document. Stepan refuses, but Anna finds a card of a restaurant owned by the Russian Semyon inside the diary and she visits the old man trying to find a lead to contact Tatiana's family. When she mentions the existence of the diary, Semyon immediately offers to translate the document. However, Stepan translates part of the diary and Anna discovers that Semyon and his sick son Kirill had raped Tatiana when she was fourteen years old and forced her to work as prostitute in a brothel of their own. Further, Semyon is the dangerous boss of the Russian mafia "Vory v Zakone", jeopardizing the safety of Anna and her family. Meanwhile, Semyon's driver Nikolai Luzhin gets close to Kirill and Semyon, climbing positions in the criminal organization, but he helps Anna, her family and the baby. Written by Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

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 itself 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 and brutal core, the family's fortunes are 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; it is written in Russian, and 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. With Semyon and Kirill closing ranks and Anna pressing her inquiries, Nikolai unexpectedly finds his loyalties divided. The family tightens its grip on him; who can, or should, he trust? Several lives – including his own – hang in the balance as a harrowing chain of murder, deceit, and retribution reverberates through the darkest corners of both the family and London itself. Written by Focus Features



1 Comment


    DonFishies said

    February 23 2012 @ 18:09

    When I first saw the trailer for Eastern Promises, I was a little
    confused. Yes, A History of Violence was a complete turnaround style
    picture for David Cronenberg (whose previous films include the most
    twistedly eccentric visions of horrendously graphic violence and
    overtly over sexualized human beings and monsters), but I had not
    expected that he would continue down the path of the "independent
    mainstream". I was a little hesitant to see it at first, but gradually
    the trailer's imagery drew me in. And now I can say there really is a
    reason for the Oscar buzz.

    There really is no way to perfectly describe Eastern Promises without
    giving a few juicy details away. It revolves around a Russian crime
    circuit in London, headed by Semyon (Armin Mueller-Stahl), and includes
    his son Kirill (Vincent Cassel) and Kirill's driver Nikolai (Viggo
    Mortensen). Anna (Naomi Watts), a midwife, gets involved within the
    circuit unknowingly when she attempts to get a diary, recently left by
    a teenage mother who died during childbirth, translated from Russian
    into English.

    The plot is really not that complicated, but giving a full description
    ruins the little idiosyncrasies and poignant character moments shared
    within the film. Oscar-nominee Steve Knight has constructed a gritty,
    atmospheric thriller that starts up quick and then slows down to a nice
    steady pace, just so the audience can catch its breath and brood over
    the workings of the cast. It is dialogue driven, but when it is not
    being sly or darkly comedic, it plays out like an opera. We gradually
    learn all the intimate details of every sketchy character, and we get a
    deeper sense of just how bad some of these characters are. It is not
    just a paint-by-numbers depiction of bad men, it is a highly detailed
    and clearly articulate character study. And even at its dullest
    moments, it works excellently.

    Kudos also goes to Cronenberg's go to cinematographer, Peter
    Suschitsky. London and its drab and depressing climate are beautifully
    represented here from the first frame, all the way up to the last. Even
    when the sun is out, the sets have a certain subdued haze over them. We
    are watching a film about the criminal underbelly, and its settings
    help reflected just how low these people are in their moral standings.
    It works greatly in favour of the film, and it almost works as a
    character in itself. The drab, almost noir, settings help achieve the
    dirty politics of the film, and they help explore the character studies
    even further. Whether it's the scariness of watching Mortensen in the
    dark, or just looking at the glare of Mueller-Stahl in his dimmed
    restaurant, all of the details have been amped up on each set to give
    the audience a greater sense of understanding and purpose, for just
    about every character.

    And what Cronenberg film would be without some bizarrely violent
    visuals? While not exactly a bloodbath, Cronenberg does have a few
    moments where he paints the screen a bright shade of scarlet red. And
    when it begins to flow, there is nothing that can really stop it. It
    works much in the same way as it did in Violence, in that the film
    builds to a scene loaded with it and just lets loose in a ferocious
    manner unlike any well-known director currently working in the
    mainstream on movies that are not specifically horror (with obvious
    exceptions to Quentin Tarantino and Robert Rodriguez). It has that
    Cronenbergian touch, and much like his other films, its style is
    impeccable and thought-provoking.

    Another fantastic element is the score by Howard Shore. It slows when
    it needs to, and it quickens even faster. It plays out wonderfully
    throughout the scenes, and gives them a sort of classy feel. I realize
    I used the opera description before, but it fits even better here. Its
    great workings underpin every scene, and help dictate just how well off
    the film is.

    What hurts the film (besides some very bizarre choices by Watts'
    character) is the denouement. It works, but I just cannot fathom how
    neither Knight nor Cronenberg thought it was appropriate for the story
    that was taking place. It just does not have the solid impact that
    every other scene either has, or builds to. I sat, almost dumbfounded,
    trying to figure out who thought it was a good idea, and why no one
    told them to re-write it. But I will say, much like Violence, Promises
    has an absolutely stunning final moment. But to get to that astounding
    moment, you have to sit through a rather disappointing finale.

    If you thought you had seen Mortensen's best work before Promises, then
    you will be in for a very big surprise. His cold and calculating
    performance as Nikolai is the stuff that creates legends. He is
    menacing from the word go, and even as the enigmatic slowly becomes the
    well-known, you will just stare in fear and awe as he speaks on screen.
    From the terrifying tattoos, to a small character moment where he puts
    out a cigarette on his tongue, Mortensen is the quintessential image of
    evil. His unrestrained anger is felt throughout the film, and
    hopefully, will be just the right performance to launch him into the
    stratosphere of Oscar-nominated actors. Even during the let-down of an
    ending, he keeps up, and never lets anyone down.

    The rest of the cast, albeit nowhere near as strong as Mortensen, are
    all very good supporting characters. Watts' character may have issues,
    but she breathes a certain life into the naïve character that I doubt
    many others could match. Much the same goes for Cassel and
    Mueller-Stahl, who bring just the right amount of intensity to their

    Although it is flawed, Cronenberg has delivered yet another exceptional
    thriller. It will surely be recognized at Oscar time, and for good
    reason too. Do not miss it.


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