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Viggo Mortensen in Eastern Promises

Viggo Mortensen in Eastern Promises

Release: 2007

Director: David Cronenberg
Writer(s): Steven Knight

Runtime: 100 min

MCAA Rating: R for strong brutal and bloody violence, some graphic sexuality, language and nudity

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Eastern Promises Cast and Crew

Viggo Mortensen: Nikolai Luzhin

Other leading roles:
Vincent Cassel as Kirill
Armin Mueller-Stahl as Semyon
Naomi Watts as Anna Khitrova

Eastern Promises Synopsis

The story of Anna (Naomi Watts), a London hospital's midwife, who witnesses the death of a young girl in giving birth on Christmas Eve and decides to search for the girl's family and identity. The search leads Anna into the core of a dangerous underground sex-trafficking business operated by London's Russian crime circle, including Nikolai (Viggo Mortensen).

Eastern Promises Brief Review

Wow. I just watched Eastern Promises this evening.

I'm not that fond of pain and violence in films, but I am a fan of Viggo, so I gritted my teeth and asked some friends to join me for moral support. We saw it this evening, were all just blown away by the film, and I am already scheming a way to see it again!

It is dark, and there is explicit violence, but it is contained in small pieces and is not gratuitous. It feels like just enough to make clear how high the stakes are.

Having heard the scuttlebutt, I fully expected to appreciate Viggo's performance, and he exceeded my expectations. The accent, his bearing, the contrast between his behaviors in different situations -- he inhabited this character thoroughly.

I wasn't sure what to expect from the rest of the cast, but they were outstanding. Armin Mueller-Stahl (Semyon) had such a chilling menace under his sweet papa veneer, and Vincent Cassel (Kirill) was sadly believable as his dissolute and disappointing son. I was especially struck by their scenes with the children -- Semyon showing them how to find the heart in the violin, and Kirill blowing up balloons for them. I found myself wondering how they could be so kind and caring with them and so callous with girls who were only 5-8 years older.

The film left me satisfied and yet wanting more. Sequel, anyone? :)

Most early reviews are solidly positive, with many hinting at Oscar nominations for Viggo and others. Viewers at the 2007 Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) gave Eastern Promises the People's Choice Award.

Eastern Promises Soundtrack

The Eastern Promises soundtrack features original compositions by Howard Shore, along with music based on traditional Russian melodies. Heavy on violin and other strings, the music is beautiful and moving.

Amazon lists the tracks as:
1. Eastern Promises
2. Tatiana
3. London Streets
4. Sometimes Birth and Death Go Together
5. Trafalgar Hospital
6. Vory V Zakone
7. Slavery and Suffering
8. Nikolai
9. Kirill
10. Anna Khitrova
11. Eagle and Star
12. Nine Elms
13. Like a Place in the Bible
14. Trans-Siberian Diary

Eastern Promises Resources

David Cronenberg on the set of Eastern PromisesAmazon's Eastern Promises "Boutique" - Amazon's community page for Eastern Promises includes background information, interview with David Cronenberg on the making of the film, clips and trailers, background on Russian prison tattoos, and and related reading. There is also a nascent customer discussion area.
Viggo Mortensen & Naomi Watts in Eastern PromisesEastern Promises @ LJ - LiveJournal community focuses on Eastern Promises, with tons of reviews, links, video clips, images and discussion.
Viggo Mortensen & Naomi Watts in Eastern PromisesEastern Promises Official Site - Focus Features' official website for Eastern Promises includes synopsis and production notes, background information on cast and crew, a slide show and video, and excerpts from press reviews.
MovieWeb: Eastern PromisesMovieWeb: Eastern Promises (2007) - In addition to the usual summary, trailers, plot synopsis, still photos and reviews, MovieWeb offers exclusive interview videos with Viggo Mortensen, David Cronenberg and Vincent Cassel.
Rotten Tomatoes: Eastern PromisesRotten Tomatoes: Eastern Promises - Lots of reviews, excerpts and links. As of 19-Sept-07, the film is running at 85% fresh, with an average rating of 7.4/10. Comments include "In Eastern Promises, David Cronenberg's hellacious new Russian mob movie, Viggo Mortensen finally comes of age as an actor and a movie star," by Ty Burr, and "Viggo Mortensen chews it up and spits it out as the corrupt centerpiece of maverick director David Cronenberg's searing mob thriller," by Jeanne Aufmuth.
Wikipedia: Eastern PromisesWikipedia: Eastern Promises - Summarizes the plot and production, and provides links to information about the cast and director. Detailed "critical reception" section with many quotes from reviewers.

Eastern Promises Video Clips

Viggo Mortensen in Eastern PromisesEastern Promises Trailer  «20-Sep-07» - Official QuickTime trailers from Focus Features, hosted by Apple. Options range from a lower-resolution embedded version to downloads in 480x260 (44MB), 720x (105 MB), and 1080x (176 MB). There is also an iPod version that drops itself directly into iTunes.
Viggo Mortensen in Eastern PromisesMovieWeb: Eastern Promises Behind-the-Scenes Footage  «20-Sep-07» - Go behind the scenes to see David Cronenberg examining Viggo Mortensen's tattoos. "I like it ... it's not too cluttered but it's full." Other scenes feature the meeting between Nikolai and Anna with her motorcycle, and banter between cast members. (total running time 5:23)
Viggo Mortensen interview about Eastern PromisesMovieWeb: Eastern Promises Exclusive Interviews  «20-Sep-07» - Three exclusive one-on-one interviews discussing Eastern Promises with Viggo Mortensen, Vincent Cassel, and director David Cronenberg. Viggo talks about learning the background information he needed in order to create his Russian character, tattoos, the sex trade, working with Cronenberg, and why he was willing to film the naked scenes. (total run time of Viggo's interview: 5:40)

Eastern Promises Photo Gallery

It's early yet, so most of these Eastern Promises screencaps are captured from the high-resolution trailer.