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"EASTERN PROMISES"
(2007) (Viggo Mortensen, Naomi Watts) (R)

Alcohol/
Drugs
Blood/Gore Disrespectful/
Bad Attitude
Frightening/
Tense Scenes
Guns/
Weapons
Heavy Extreme Extreme Heavy Extreme
Imitative
Behavior
Jump
Scenes
Music
(Scary/Tense)
Music
(Inappropriate)
Profanity
Moderate None Moderate Mild Extreme
Sex/
Nudity
Smoking Tense Family
Scenes
Topics To
Talk About
Violence
Extreme Heavy Moderate Moderate Extreme


QUICK TAKE:
Drama: As a hospital midwife attempts to find an orphaned newborn's extended family, she unknowingly stumbles into the underground world of the Russian mafia in London.
PLOT:
Anna Khitrova (NAOMI WATTS) is a midwife at a London hospital who's just helped deliver a newborn. With the baby's teenager mother having died during delivery, Anna takes it upon herself to find the child's extended family. Yet, the only thing she has to work with is Tatiana's diary, but since it's in Russian, she can't read it. She asks her uncle Stepan (JERZY SKOLIMOWSKI) to translate it, but he thinks it's wrong to have "robbed" a dead person. Her mother, Helen (SINÉAD CUSACK), with whom she lives, however, understands her daughter's quest, especially still Anna's only child was stillborn.

Anna's quest eventually leads her to Semyon (ARMIN MUELLER-STAHL), a successful restaurateur, and underground Russian mob boss who takes an interest in translating the diary, especially when he hears that it's Tatiana's. At the same time, however, he must contend with his loose cannon son Kirill (VINCENT CASSEL), whose activities have led another mob figure, Azim (MINA E. MINA), to have a man killed. Word now is that the victim's family is headed their way for revenge, and Semyon is worried, although he knows his stoic driver, Nikolai Luzhin (VIGGO MORTENSEN), can probably handle matters.

He can, but Nikolai also shows an interest in Anna and her quest. That attention makes her uneasy, especially as she stumbles deeper into the underground world of Russian mobsters in London. Nevertheless, she continues her efforts, a pursuit that potentially endangers her life as the various elements of the mystery start coming together.

WILL KIDS WANT TO SEE IT?
Fans of the director (David Cronenberg) or anyone in the cast might draw in kids, but the most likely interested group would be older teens.
WHY THE MPAA RATED IT: R
For strong brutal and bloody violence, some graphic sexuality, language and nudity.
CAST AS ROLE MODELS:
The following does not give away late in the film character revelations.
  • VIGGO MORTENSEN plays a driver for the Russian mob in London. He uses strong profanity, has sex with a woman under order from Kirill, smokes, drinks, and is tattooed. He's generally calm, even when partially dismembering and disposing of a body, and he somewhat befriends Anna, but can erupt in violence when needed.
  • NAOMI WATTS plays a half-Russian midwife in a London hospital who wants to find the extended family for a newborn who was orphaned when born. She uses brief strong profanity, and does some brief smoking, all while facing uncertain dangers.
  • VINCENT CASSEL plays Nikolai's direct boss and son to Semyon who's a loose cannon and whose behavior increasingly troubles his father. He sometimes acts like a brother to Nikolai but at others is mean and orders him around. He also uses strong profanity and drinks.
  • ARMIN MUELLER-STAHL plays Kirill's father, a restaurateur who's a leading Russian mob figure. His outward calmness hides his inner brutality, and we hear that he was the one who raped and impregnated Tatiana. Increasingly upset about his son's behavior, he soon begins to favor Nikolai over him.
  • MINA E. MINA plays a barber and Russian mob figure who orders that another man be murdered.
  • JERZY SKOLIMOWSKI plays Anna's uncle who thinks it's wrong to have Tatiana's diary, and initially refuses to translate it, but then does.
  • CAST, CREW, & TECHNICAL INFO

    HOW OTHERS RATED THIS MOVIE


    Curious if this title is entertaining, any good, and/or has any artistic merit?
    Then read OUR TAKE of this film.


    (Note: The "Our Take" review of this title examines the film's artistic merits and does not take into account any of the possibly objectionable material listed below).


    OUR WORD TO PARENTS:
    Here's a brief summary of the content found in this dramatic thriller that's been rated R. Profanity consists of at least 31 "f" words, while other expletives, colorful phrases, and sexually related dialogue (much of it explicit) are also uttered. A graphic sexual encounter is seen (rear entry intercourse with movement, nudity and sounds), some young girls are captive as sex slaves, and full male frontal and rear nudity is seen during a nonsexual fight.

    That battle is quite intense and results in graphic wounds and deaths, while other murders via slit throats also occur (and some non-lethal contact is also present). Those scenes are very bloody and gory, and along with various moments of peril, might be quite unsettling and/or suspenseful to some viewers.

    Some of that action and other behavior might be enticing for some kids to try to emulate, while various characters have varying degrees of bad attitudes. Various characters smoke and/or drink (the latter to the point of intoxication), while forced drug use (heroin) is briefly mentioned. Finally, some tense family material is present.

    If you're still concerned about the film and its appropriateness for yourself or anyone else in your home who may be interested in seeing it, we suggest that you take a closer look at our detailed listings for more specific information regarding the film's content.


    ALCOHOL OR DRUG USE
  • Anna, her mom, and her uncle have wine with dinner, and Stephan then has more of that or other liquor.
  • Kirill drinks a shot of liquor.
  • Nikolai invites Anna to have a drink with him, but she rides off on her motorcycle.
  • Stephan has liquor.
  • Stephan drinks, and Anna and her mom have some in front of them, but don't drink.
  • Miscellaneous people drink in a restaurant.
  • Semyon has a drink.
  • Azim mentions redoing a place where people can drink, smoke and more.
  • Semyon has some liquor by him and tells Anna that his head isn't clear due to having vodka.
  • Nikolai escorts the literally falling down drunk Kirill back into the restaurant where he continues to act that way. Semyon kicks Kirill in the side and then gut for being so drunk.
  • We see Kirill, Nikolai and some miscellaneous young women drinking, with Kirill then throwing his bottle into a stereo while upset.
  • Stephan has a drink.
  • Kirill has Nikolai sample some wine from a case earmarked for Semyon.
  • Nikolai tells Semyon that the guy who was murdered had been talking to the police about Kirill, saying he was a drunk and a queer.
  • Semyon pours liquor on the diary and then sets it on fire.
  • A passage from Tatiana's diary has her mentioning the daily injections of heroin she was given by Kirill and/or other thugs.
  • Nikolai and Semyon each have a shot of liquor.
  • A man has beer.
  • Semyon orders Kirill to retrieve 12 bottles of brandy from the cellar, and we then see Kirill drinking from one bottle, and he pressures Nikolai to have some (and he does). Kirill then has more.
  • Nikolai drinks a shot of liquor while getting a tattoo.
  • After being forced to give blood to the police (not seen), Semyon pours liquor on his arm, angrily stating that the needle they used probably gave him a "f*cking queer disease."
  • We see Nikolai with a bottle of liquor and shot glass in front of him.
  • BLOOD/GORE
  • Azim orders a subordinate to take a straight razor and the young man reluctantly does, grabbing and awkwardly sawing another man's throat with it, killing him (with graphic cutting, a graphic wound, and lots of blood).
  • We see a lot of blood on the floor around Tatiana's bare feet, and she then collapses and slips on that blood. As she's rushed into a delivery room, we see a great deal of blood on her feet, legs and clothing, and her purse even seems blood-soaked. She also has bruises on her arms (we later learn from daily heroin injections done by others). We then see her newborn infant, covered in blood and goo (a disturbing view because the baby seems dead, but a manual respirator revives the child), while the doctors and nurses have blood on their gowns and gloves, etc.
  • We see a previously murdered man at the bottom of a chest freezer, discolored and with the same neck wound. Nikolai then uses a hair dryer on that body to thaw it out (and remove the bloodstained wallet). He then tells the others to leave as he's going to remove the teeth and fingers (to prevent identification), and we see him snip off one finger (graphically, but with no blood since the man has been dead and frozen for a while).
  • We see the previously murdered body again, this time washed up and even more discolored than before, and with the tips of the fingers missing.
  • A man urinates on a headstone in a cemetery (we see the stream). Two men then grab him and slit his throat (we see the graphic wound from which a lot of blood then pours).
  • After fighting off two men with large knives, Nikolai is very bloody from his various wounds (while there's blood around the assailants after they're killed, including a pool of blood behind one). We later see Nikolai in the hospital with blood-soaked bandages, as well as fresh, but now dried cuts on his face, etc.
  • DISRESPECTFUL/BAD ATTITUDE
  • The Russian mobsters have bad attitudes for their criminal and murderous behavior.
  • Spotting Anna, Nikolai jokes that maybe Semyon got Kirill a hooker.
  • About Anna's former boyfriend, Stephan says that black men always run away, and then says that it isn't natural to mix races, and that's the reason her baby died inside her.
  • Kirill spits sunflower seeds or something similar down onto a dead body.
  • We hear that Tatiana was 14 when she was pregnant, and Anna guesses she was a prostitute (we later learn she was and/or was a sex slave for Kirill).
  • Both Kirill and Semyon use the term "queer" on separate occasions, such as Kirill telling Nikolai he needs to make sure the latter isn't one (and forces him to have sex with a woman while he watches).
  • We hear a passage from Tatiana's diary where she says Kirill threw her down the stairs and attempted to rape her, but that it was Semyon who actually did the latter, with him adding that if you don't break a horse, it will never be tamed.
  • Kirill often treats Nikolai badly, ordering him around and such and looking at him as below him.
  • Nikolai tells Semyon that the guy who was murdered had been talking to the police about Kirill, saying he was a drunk and a queer.
  • A passage from Tatiana's diary has her mentioning the daily injections of heroin she was given by Kirill and/or other thugs.
  • A man urinates on a headstone in a cemetery.
  • Mob figures try to goad Nikolai into showing emotion by badmouthing his parents (calling his dad a "bitch" and his mom a "whore"), but Nikolai says they're dead to him.
  • After being forced to give blood to the police (not seen), Semyon pours liquor on his arm, angrily stating that the needle they used probably gave him a "f*cking queer disease."
  • FRIGHTENING SCENES
  • Scenes listed under "Violence" and/or "Blood/Gore" may be unsettling or suspenseful to younger viewers and/or those with low tolerance levels for such material.
  • Azim orders a subordinate to take a straight razor and the young man reluctantly does, grabbing and awkwardly sawing another man's throat with it, killing him (with graphic cutting, a graphic wound, and lots of blood).
  • We see a lot of blood on the floor around Tatiana's bare feet, and she then collapses and slips on that blood. As she's rushed into a delivery room, we see a great deal of blood on her feet, legs and clothing, and her purse even seems blood-soaked. She also has bruises on her arms (we later learn from daily heroin injections done by others). We then see her newborn infant, covered in blood and goo (a disturbing view because the baby seems dead, but a manual respirator revives the child), while the doctors and nurses have blood on their gowns and gloves, etc. We then hear that the mother died.
  • We see a previously murdered man at the bottom of a chest freezer, discolored and with the same neck wound. Nikolai then uses a hair dryer on that body to thaw it out (and remove the bloodstained wallet). He then tells the others to leave as he's going to remove the teeth and fingers (to prevent identification), and we see him snip off one finger (graphically, but with no blood since the man has been dead and frozen for a while).
  • Semyon lets himself into the neonatal care facility, surprising Anna and then threatening her in a very subdued way (essentially saying he now knows where she works).
  • Stephan spits in Nikolai's face (thus making us worry about the former).
  • Semyon orders Nikolai to take care of Stephan, saying the latter knows too much. For a while, we think he's killed Stephan, but later learn that's not the case.
  • Two men grab another man and slit his throat (we see the graphic wound from which a lot of blood then pours).
  • Two fully clothed goons try to murder the fully nude Nikolai in a public bathhouse. One slices Nikolai across the chest or belly, with him then punching that man (bloodying his nose). That's followed by both men hitting and trying to kill him, including more slices with their large knives. Nikolai gets in various return blows and barely avoids some of that same and more slicing aimed at him. The fighting is very brutal and graphic, including Nikolai stabbing a knife down into one's chest, followed by fighting the other where, during the struggle, he positions the knife behind the man's head and then pushes that (or the neck) down onto the blade, killing that man. Nikolai then goes back to the first who grabs and tries to strangle him, with Nikolai barely avoiding being sliced by blocking the man's arm that he then breaks, graphically. Nikolai keeps pressure on that arm while grabbing and then stabbing the knife into the man's eye, killing him. All of that has extremely bloody results (mostly on Nikolai, as well as at least one pool of blood on the floor).
  • Anna realizes that Kirill has taken Tatiana's newborn from the hospital. We then see that he has the child down by the riverfront where he previously disposed of a dead body and now tearfully intends to place the baby. Nikolai and Anna then show up, with the former managing to talk him out of doing that.
  • GUNS/WEAPONS
  • Knives/Straight razor: Used to wound or kill others. See "Violence" for details.
  • About dealing with the Russian mob, Stephan says he knows a guy with a gun, but nothing ever comes of that.
  • IMITATIVE BEHAVIOR
  • Phrases: "Who the f*ck's that?" "You f*cking baboon," "Which one are you gonna f*ck?" "I have to make sure you're no f*cking queer," "I'm going to watch you f*ck one of these bitches," "Get the f*ck out of here," "You never worked for the f*cking KGB," "Old as f*ck," "Shut your f*cking mouth," "M*therf*cker," "It was my f*cking idea," "F*cker," "F*cking queer disease," "You stop talking sh*t," "Bitch" (woman and man), "Christ, you make me sound like a burning building," "Oh, shut up," "Bastards," "Shut up, bitch," "Punter" and "Whore."
  • All of the fighting, violence, and other stunts might be enticing for some kids to imitate.
  • Nikolai has various tattoos all over his body, which also holds true for Kirill and others.
  • Nikolai puts out his cigarette on his tongue.
  • We see miscellaneous graffiti.
  • Kirill spits.
  • Nikolai and Kirill dispose of a wrapped, dead body in a river where it briefly floats before sinking below the surface.
  • Stephan spits in Nikolai's face (thus making us worry about the former).
  • Semyon pours liquor on the diary and then sets it on fire.
  • JUMP SCENES
  • None.
  • MUSIC (SCARY/TENSE)
  • A moderate amount of heavily dramatic and suspenseful music plays in the film.
  • MUSIC (INAPPROPRIATE)
  • A song has the lyric, "I just want to get with you" (among others, all during a sexual scene).
  • PROFANITY
  • At least 31 "f" words (2 used with "mother," 5 used sexually), 2 "s" words, 5 wankers, 1 punter, 2 uses of "Christ" and 1 use of "My God."
  • SEX/NUDITY
  • Spotting Anna, Nikolai jokes that maybe Semyon got Kirill a hooker.
  • We see miscellaneous cleavage.
  • We hear that Tatiana was 14 when she was pregnant, and Anna guesses she was a prostitute (we later learn she was and/or was a sex slave for Kirill).
  • Anna asks Nikolai if he knows anyone named Tatiana. He says he knows lots, but when she says the girl was pregnant, he says that in that case, he doesn't know her (and then laughs about his sexual joke).
  • We see Kirill, somewhat intoxicated, with his shirt open, while he cavorts with a young teenage pole dancer who moves about such a pole (clothed). He gets in close with her, and we see other such women (some of whom look uncomfortable there, but two nearly kiss after one blows smoke in the other's face). Nikolai is there, close with another teen, but Kirill is adamant about knowing which one Nikolai is going to "f*ck." He uses that sort of language several times again, and says that he has to "make sure you're no f*cking queer," followed by telling Nikolai, "I'm going to watch you f*ck one of the bitches." We then see him doing just that, standing in the door as Nikolai has rear entry sex behind a nude, young woman. Both face the camera, so we see her bare breasts as she's on all fours, as well as his movement (and bare chest with his shirt open) and the very top of her bare butt, while we also hear his sexual sounds. Later, we see that young woman lying nude on her side, singing, but due to the positioning of her arms and legs, we don't see anything explicit (although there's no doubt she's fully nude).
  • Kirill comments to Nikolai about the police taking away the girl "you f*cked in front of me yesterday."
  • We see Nikolai in just small and tight black shorts while being initiated into the mob.
  • We see Nikolai and Azim in just towels in a public bathhouse, along with other men the same way. When Azim leaves, we see Nikolai seated, with his legs spread (showing a view of his crotch). He then ends up fighting two goons (they're fully clothed) and we see various full frontal and rear nude views of him (including his penis and scrotum).
  • SMOKING
  • Nikolai smokes at least 7 times, while Anna smokes once, and several miscellaneous characters smoke in several scenes, while Semyon has an unlit cigar in an ashtray by him.
  • Azim mentions redoing a place where people can drink, smoke and more.
  • Nikolai puts out his cigarette on his tongue.
  • TENSE FAMILY SCENES
  • Although the newborn isn't aware of the fact, the child is orphaned when the mother dies during or right after childbirth.
  • We hear Tatiana's diary where she states that her father died and she left Russia for a better life (as a young teen).
  • Semyon kicks Kirill in the side and then gut for being so drunk.
  • We hear that Kirill's mother died when he was very young.
  • Semyon slaps Kirill across the face, and the later eventually comes to the realization that Nikolai might be replacing him in his father's heart and/or mind.
  • Mob figures try to goad Nikolai into showing emotion by badmouthing his parents (calling his dad a "bitch" and his mom a "whore"), but Nikolai says they're dead to him.
  • TOPICS TO TALK ABOUT
  • Organized crime and many viewers' fascination with it, both in real life and in the movies.
  • Kirill often treats Nikolai badly, ordering him around and such and looking at him as below him, but at others treats him like a brother and/or close friend.
  • The comment that anger is very dangerous in that it makes people do stupid things.
  • VIOLENCE
  • Azim orders a subordinate to take a straight razor and the young man reluctantly does, grabbing and awkwardly sawing another man's throat with it, killing him (with graphic cutting, a graphic wound, and lots of blood).
  • When another man unintentionally surprises him, Kirill and Azim, Nikolai pushes that man back against a wall by his neck.
  • We see a previously murdered man at the bottom of a chest freezer, discolored and with the same neck wound. Nikolai then uses a hair dryer on that body to thaw it out (and remove the bloodstained wallet). He then tells the others to leave as he's going to remove the teeth and fingers (to prevent identification), and we see him snip off one finger (graphically, but with no blood since the man has been dead and frozen for a while).
  • Semyon kicks Kirill in the side and then gut for being so drunk.
  • Kirill throws a bottle of liquor into a stereo while upset.
  • We hear a passage from Tatiana's diary where she says Kirill threw her down the stairs and attempted to rape her, but that it was Semyon who actually did the latter, with him adding that if you don't break a horse, it will never be tamed.
  • Semyon slaps Kirill across the face.
  • Semyon pours liquor on the diary and then sets it on fire.
  • Two men grab another man and slit his throat (we see the graphic wound from which a lot of blood then pours).
  • Kirill violently pushes and presses Anna back against a car, with Nikolai having to pull him off her.
  • Two fully clothed goons try to murder the fully nude Nikolai in a public bathhouse. One slices Nikolai across the chest or belly, with him then punching that man (bloodying his nose). That's followed by both men hitting and trying to kill him, including more slices with their large knives. Nikolai gets in various return blows and barely avoids some of that same and more slicing aimed at him. The fighting is very brutal and graphic, including Nikolai stabbing a knife down into one's chest, followed by fighting the other where, during the struggle, he positions the knife behind the man's head and then pushes that (or the neck) down onto the blade, killing that man. Nikolai then goes back to the first who grabs and tries to strangle him, with Nikolai barely avoiding being sliced by blocking the man's arm that he then breaks, graphically. Nikolai keeps pressure on that arm while grabbing and then stabbing the knife into the man's eye, killing him. All of that has extremely bloody results (mostly on Nikolai, as well as at least one pool of blood on the floor).



  • Reviewed September 10, 2007 / Posted September 21, 2007

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