Eastern Promises

Theatrical Release: September 21, 2007
Eastern Promises


The new thriller from director David Cronenberg reteams him with his “A History of Violence” leading man Viggo Mortensen. The film follows the mysterious and ruthless Nikolai (Mr. Mortensen), who is tied to one of London’s most notorious organized crime families. His carefully maintained existence is jarred when he crosses paths with Anna (Academy Award nominee Naomi Watts), an innocent midwife trying to right a wrong, who accidentally uncovers potential evidence against the family. Now Nikolai must put into motion a harrowing chain of murder, deceit, and retribution.

Dove Review

After screening this film, I heard a woman in the lobby say to someone standing next to her, “That was really violent.” She was right. It was and is a very violent picture. The premise of the film is that a character named Anna (Naomi Watts) helps deliver a baby when the baby’s mother comes to the hospital near death, hemorrhaging quite badly. The baby is saved but Anna soon learns from the mother’s journal a hidden secret as to the birth of the child and the baby’s father. Anna’s path crosses that of the ruthless Nikolai (Viggo Mortensen), who has ties to one of the worst crime families in London. Although he coldly inspects a body in a freezer and cuts off the fingers, there is another side to him which Anna turns to in hopes of saving the baby’s life, which she learns is in danger.

This is a dark picture that despite the good performances from Mortensen, Watts and the rest of the cast, is extremely violent. There are two explicit scenes of throats being slit, and a sauna scene in which a character is attacked. It becomes a blood bath in the sauna. We cannot award our Dove Seal to this picture as a family-friendly movie.

Content Description

Faith: None
Integrity: None
Sex: Character has sex on screen with a prostitute; one man encourages another to engage in sex with prostitute; a group of prostitutes are seen and one is an erotic dancer and she dances; one woman is about to kiss another woman on the lips when the scene cuts away; a rape is mentioned.
Language: F-31; Chr*st-2; B-6; S-2; G/OMG-1; References to "queer"-5
Violence: A lot of violence including two character's throats slit on screen with a lot of blood; a corpse seen in a freezer; a corpse's fingers are cut off and this is seen; a corpse is unfrozen and the body dumped in a river; a just-born baby which is very bloody is seen on screen; a woman hemorrhaging and there is a pool of blood on floor; several shoot-outs with some blood; a man is attacked by two other men in a shower and there is stabbing and blood; one man's eye is knifed and there is a pool of blood; a man is kicked several times.
Drugs: Several brief scenes with alcohol; smoking.
Nudity: Upper frontal female nudity and side nudity of a female; total frontal nudity of male with his genitals being viewed a few times very quickly as he is in a fight; rear male nudity; cleavage.
Other: A man is set up to be murdered; a racial remark about black men always running away from their women; a man puts a cigarette out on his own tongue; a man spits on another man.


Company: Focus Features
Producer: Robert Lantos
Genre: Drama
Runtime: 100 min.
Reviewer: Edwin L. Carpenter