Eastern Promises (2007) Review

When a young teenager dies during childbirth and leaves clues in her diary that links a violent Russian mob family to child rape. This is something which midwife Anna Khitrova cannot help but pursue despite the best efforts of Nikolai Luzhin to not have her involved.


Anna is British-Russian working in a London hospital when after the 14 year olds death finds a diary in Russian on her body, she also finds a card for a restaurant and this leads to her meeting Semyon as she attempts to track down the girls family to find a home for her baby girl. Anna’s mother Helen does not try to stop her with what she is doing, but her Russian uncle Stepan warns her against getting involved and that the young girl Tatiana was a prostitute.

Nikolai is a driver working for Kirill who is getting ready to introduce him to his father Semyon and this could lead to a higher position within the family set up. Kirill is a truly awful man and in order to set up the meeting he forces Nicolai to have sex with one of the prostitutes so he can watch, although a hidden meaning could really be behind that one as is hinted at throughout the film. Especially given the event of a hit on rival Chechen and this starts somewhat of a war between two mob families. The reason Kirill did this? Rumours being spread that he was gay, everything we learn actually points toward that fact as well.

Everything that happens around the baby is due to the fact of who fathered it in the worst possible manor of statutory rape. The diary being key to this and given the fact that Anna’s uncle had translated it for her they were both then in danger with knowing the truth about Semyon. It has plenty more twists and turns relating to both incidents that have occurred and well worth watching unfold.

Eastern Promises was a film that I saw on cinema release which being back in 2007 was pre-blog! I’m pretty sure I have watched it at least once in-between that time, but very pleased to have revisited it. The reason I am saying that I must have watched it between 2007 and 2021 is because so many scenes were extremely memorable to me. The high intensity of different events and the sub plots within the big picture are outstanding.

Viggo Mortensen is utterly breathtaking in the film and throughly deserved his Oscar nomination for an Actor in a Leading Role. He is utterly brilliant, with the accent and speaking Russian, managing to bring such an outstanding presence to the screen. Naomi Watts is very good as Anna and very headstrong despite the dangers that she is entering. Vincent Cassel is brilliant as well with his character and had been given quite a tough task given his background and the choices that he makes. Not forgetting Sinead Cusack and Jerzy Skolimowski who both are scene stealing in the moments with Watts.

Really placed I decided to rewatch this film and feel it should actually still be talked about a lot more!

2 thoughts on “Eastern Promises (2007) Review

    • Oh yeah, I’m really pleased to have watched it again very powerful and hard hitting. It’s currently on Amazon Prime!

      I do wish I had my blog then, would have been interested to see what my 20 year old self would have written about it!


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