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Eastern Promises (2007)



Average Rating: 7.6/10
Reviews Counted: 195
Fresh: 174 | Rotten: 21

David Cronenberg triumphs again, showcasing the Viggo Mortensen's onscreen prowess in a daring performance. Bearing the trademarks of psychological drama and gritty violence, Eastern Promises is a very compelling crime story.


Average Rating: 7.4/10
Critic Reviews: 41
Fresh: 36 | Rotten: 5

David Cronenberg triumphs again, showcasing the Viggo Mortensen's onscreen prowess in a daring performance. Bearing the trademarks of psychological drama and gritty violence, Eastern Promises is a very compelling crime story.



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Average Rating: 3.8/5
User Ratings: 147,155

My Rating

Movie Info

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 proprietor of the plush Trans-Siberian restaurant 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 existence is jarred


Mystery & Suspense, Drama

Steven Knight

Dec 23, 2007


Focus Features - Official Site External Icon

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Latest News on Eastern Promises

December 14, 2012:
David Cronenberg Talks Canceled Projects
Looking back on the "Eastern Promises" sequel and the "sidebar" to "The Fly" that might have been.
November 19, 2011:
Fox Passes on David Cronenberg's The Fly Sequel
And in other Cronenberg sequel news, Viggo Mortensen is still attached to "Eastern Promises 2."


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All Critics (195) | Top Critics (41) | Fresh (174) | Rotten (21) | DVD (22)

Slightly hesitant, slightly undercharacterised and gently compromising, hybrid: an oddly diplomatic, if often brutal, dip into the hellish demi-mondes lurking behind bouncer-guarded London doorways.

October 24, 2007 Full Review Source: Time Out
Time Out
Top Critic IconTop Critic

It's just too bad Eastern Promises, on the whole, promises more than it delivers.

October 1, 2007 Full Review Source: Orlando Sentinel | Comments (4)
Orlando Sentinel
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Here is an excellent crime thriller made with grown-ups in mind.

September 22, 2007
Miami Herald
Top Critic IconTop Critic

...manages to blend the clashing of cultures, family resentment, ugly heritage and the unlikely promise of new life without going in circles.

September 21, 2007 Full Review Source: Detroit News
Detroit News
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Eastern Promises is a straightforward, straight-up Russian gangster movie whose primary achievement is making the Russian gangster underworld feel exotic and menacing.

September 21, 2007 Full Review Source: Detroit Free Press
Detroit Free Press
Top Critic IconTop Critic

...Eastern Promises is as honorable an entertainment as it is a humbling work of art.

September 21, 2007 Full Review Source: Denver Post
Denver Post
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Quite possibly the best film of the year, it is to be seen at all costs.

July 14, 2011 Full Review Source: Digital Spy
Digital Spy

David Cronenberg's spin on "The Departed," in which lawmen and the lawless were similarly tested within an ethnic mafia's ranks. But where that became an overwrought bloodbath, "Promises" maintained a vicious focus on mob malevolence and personal peril.

September 25, 2010 Full Review Source:

"It starts very well, and we're immediately drawn into this world of dead pregnant teens, the Russian mob, the hermeneutics of tattoos and the archetypal disappointment of a father with his son."

September 2, 2010 Full Review Source: Filmfest

A captivating and intimidating presence, Mortenson is simply striking in his consecutive Cronenberg film, playing the slick Russian mob figure who suffers from a crisis of conscience with equal parts calm and intensity.

July 6, 2010 Full Review Source: Matt's Movie Reviews
Matt's Movie Reviews

Clearly a companion piece to (and just as good as, if not better than) 2005's fantastic A History of Violence, Eastern Promises is all about blood, in the familial as well as the literal sense.

June 10, 2010 Full Review Source: DCist

Even if the frequently low-key plot suffers from the occasional sleepy stretch, Mortensen turns in a magnificent performance.

October 23, 2009 Full Review Source: Times-Picayune

Late-period Cronenberg masterpiece

August 27, 2009 Full Review Source: CinePassion

David Cronenberg is a director who sets out to bring life (and death) back to violence. In Eastern Promises he does just that. It is a movie that will make audiences squirm and look away.

February 2, 2009 Full Review Source: Fayetteville Free Weekly
Fayetteville Free Weekly

Mortensen is very convincing as Nikolai, and his Russian accent is impeccable.

October 18, 2008 Full Review Source: Deseret News, Salt Lake City
Deseret News, Salt Lake City

Un ejemplo de cine negro contemporáneo realizado y narrado con gran precisión. Excelente elenco donde se destaca la notable labor de Viggo Mortensen.

May 3, 2008 Full Review Source: Uruguay Total
Uruguay Total

Eastern Promises has a lot going for it, which makes it all the more disappointing when the story takes a fatal turn towards the end.

May 1, 2008 Full Review Source: MSNBC

This is my favorite David Cronenberg film to date.

March 3, 2008 Full Review Source: The Scorecard Review | Comments (6)
The Scorecard Review

...a Godfather for a new culture and era.

February 28, 2008 Full Review Source: Colorado Springs Gazette
Colorado Springs Gazette

Poderia perfeitamente ter se revelado um thriller absolutamente convencional caso não tivesse, a seu favor, dois elementos importantíssimos: a direção segura e intrigante de David Cronenberg e, claro, a performance hipnótica de Viggo Mortensen.

February 22, 2008 Full Review Source: Cinema em Cena
Cinema em Cena

Despite Viggo's total gorgeousness, a nude fight-for-his-life in a steam room has all the titillation of a butcher throwing down a slab of meat.

February 22, 2008 Full Review Source: I.E. Weekly
I.E. Weekly

David Cronenberg proves he doesn't have to use violence to tell a good story.

February 2, 2008 Full Review Source: Cinema Sight | Comments (4)
Cinema Sight

If you're a fan of crime flicks, Viggo Mortensen or director David Cronenberg, this movie is sure to give you what you want.

February 1, 2008 Full Review Source: JoBlo's Movie Emporium
JoBlo's Movie Emporium

Surprising and rather suspenseful crime drama and the perfect follow-up from the director who composes a pleasing violent moral duality tale...

January 4, 2008 Full Review Source: Cinema Crazed
Cinema Crazed

There seems to be no point to it all other than to craft an unsettling motion picture with some grisly close ups of throats being slit.

December 6, 2007 Full Review Source: | Comments (3)

Though not as subtle, complex, or personal as History of Violence, Cronenberg's new film is a grim, taut, well-crafted crimer about the Russian mafia in London, as close to a genre picture as helmer has ever done.

November 16, 2007 Full Review Source: EmanuelLevy.Com

Audience Reviews for Eastern Promises

David Cronenberg being more famous for his body horror films crafts this stunning, riveting thriller with dramatic overtones. With a brilliant cast of actors, Cronenberg does a great job at crafting a stunning picture that proves that he is able to make something other than a horror film. I thought that this film was a far superior film than A History of Violence, which I couldn't get into. The film has a very good story that is complimented by the performances of its actors, and it's a movie that is steadily paced and takes it's time for the story to unfold, therefore it's a movie that you are invested it more often than not because you are hooked at will happen next. Cronenberg's direction is immaculate and he crafts a fine picture with Eastern Promises. This is a solid film that is sure to please fans of Cronenberg's work, even if it's not a horror film, which is what he's most famous for, Eastern Promises is a taut, exciting picture that steadily unravels before you, and you simply cannot look away as it's truly an intriguing picture from start to finish. With memorable performances from its cast, especially that of Viggo Mortensen in a finely tuned performance that is menacing, cold blooded, this ranks also as one of his most intense yet. Eastern Promises is a visceral Thriller that is both brutal and beautiful in the sense that what Cronenberg has created here is simply a superb piece of cinema. If you have a taste for something different, and love David Cronenberg, then you're sure going to enjoy this film. Everything that is presented on-screen is near perfection, and it ranks among Cronenberg's most memorable films in the last few years.
June 5, 2014
Jeff "The Dude" Lebowski

Super Reviewer

A solid gangster film with some fresh (and some cliched) messages. Viggo Mortensen has an intriguingly reserved performance that added a great deal to the film's effectiveness. Definitely worth seeing, even if it lacks some of the punch that the typical gangster film delivers.
June 7, 2013

Super Reviewer

I think a tension in the atmosphere is what was missing from this flickr,still though ,due to the story line can keep you interested.
April 20, 2013

Super Reviewer

When a young girl dies during childbirth in a London hospital, the midwife tries to find out who she was by having her diary translated leading her to become embroiled in the affairs of the Russian mob. David Cronenberg's follow up to A History Of Violence shares a lot of common themes with it; it stars Viggo Mortensen (once again on top form), contains some brutally realistic violence and a grim and completely unsexy sex scene. The other performances are also strong, including Armin Mueller-Stahl as the Russian "Godfather" whose initial seemingly warm and familial attitude contains suitably sinister undercurrents, Vincent Cassel as his son and heir who deals with his latent homosexuality in this homophobic world with alcohol induced debauchery and Naomi Watts once again proves she is more than a pretty face as the headstrong heroine. Unfortunately the weaknesses of the previous film are also in evidence; the script contains few surprises and it lacks a strong narrative conclusion, but once again Cronenberg has created a solid and well made gangster film in which strong performances bolster the slight weakness in plot. Basically, if you liked A History Of Violence, you'll like this. If you didn't, you won't.
October 11, 2012
xGary Xx

Super Reviewer

    1. Semyon: [after rapping on a body stored in a freezer] Do you have hair dryer?
    – Submitted by John P (2 years ago)
    1. Nikolai Luzhin: Sometimes, if things are closed, you just, open them up.
    – Submitted by rob g (3 years ago)
    1. Nikolai Luzhin: I can't become king if someone else already sits on the throne.
    – Submitted by John Z (3 years ago)
View all quotes (3)

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Foreign Titles

  • Eastern Promises (Tödliche Versprechen) (DE)
  • Les Promesses de l'ombre (FR)
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