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Eastern Promises


Eastern Promises is a rare and powerful film to come in our direction. The film boasts of many humble names but that doesn’t take away any of its effectiveness. The man who makes this masterpiece come alive is Canadian-born director David Cronenberg. With a brooding ambience, he paints a vivid yet stark picture of man and all his deviousness. “Promises” is a provocative gangland drama at par with the creations of Martin Scorsese..


Armin Mueller (Semyon)

“Promises” is about a criminal organization run by a grandfatherly figure named Semyon (Armin Mueller-Stahl). He has done a subtle role and has lived as the character throughout the film.


Viggo Mortensen (Nikolai Luzhin)

Although he starts his play as a negative character and also has a late appearance, finally turns out into a lead role by the end of the movie and leaves a great impact in the minds of the audience.


Naomi Watts (Anna)

A well known face in “Lord Of The Rings” movie has casted the role of the nurse who is present during a delivery of a baby who is supposed to be the daughter of a young girl who was raped. Anna takes steps to find a good future for the baby girl.

DIRECTION - David Cronenberg

David Cronenberg, also known as the King of Venereal Horror or the Baron of blood, was born in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, in 1943. The director has brought out a good movie just with not much familiar faces. The storyline was a bit confusing but interesting.

CINEMATOGRAPHY - Peter Suschitzky

The cinematography has been a boon to the movie and clearly cuts out the reality within the frame available. The lighting in the movie sets the mood and the tone for the movie.



(1) The party scene at Semyon house was attractive due to the lighting and the colours 
     which were projected thanks to the cinematographer.
(2) The scene where the Semyon son takes the baby to through away into the river while
      he is stopped by Anna and Nikolai Luzhin stops him from killing the baby.
(3) The scene where Viggo gives lift to Anna where her old bike malfunctions and gives a
     oppenchunity for Viggo to cash in on her helplessness ( due to late night, rain, long 
     distance of her house) and the audience feel the natural trap for the innocent Anna to
     fall as a victim where Viggo offers to drop her off at her home. Till she is dropped the
     audience really think that she is been taken “ for a real ride”.


(1) The start of the movie with a killing by the barber makes the viewers uncomfortable
     from the start.
(2) Too much of kills makes the movie a bit violent.
(3) Cutting of fingers is a bit too much.
(4) The same old way of disposing a victim’s body by throwing it into a river shows the
     death of creativity in the director’s part


I guess the scene where Nikolai Luzhin, Anna and Semyon’s son gets into a conversation at the river front is more towards to the sentiments and is enjoyable.


Eastern Promises - a Promise that is fulfilled.


Although the film is set in London, it’s mostly about Russian affairs. Cronenberg plays out the events in a manner that the Siberian chill follows them wherever they go. The characters feel sinister and real at the same time. Needless to say, the best thing you’ll find here is Mortensen’s performance. He bears a convincing Russian accent for which he roamed Russia by himself. It’s absolutely remarkable to watch him unravel his ambivalent shades. Nikolai is reminiscent of the anti-heroes of yore. You can’t ignore the performances of Cassel and Mueller-Stahl either.

Score: 70/100
IDM Team

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