Movie Review: Eastern Promises

I can sum up this movie in one sentence.  There is naked fighting with Viggo Mortensen.  Okay, okay, I can see that some of you are not in your cars yet, on your way to the theater.  And of course, you should be based on that alone.  But for those of you who need a movie with substance, you will find that too.  Before and after the naked fighting with Viggo Mortensen. 

The basic plot is a teenage Russian girl is rushed to a London hospital after collapsing in a pool of blood in a pharmacy.  Her baby girl is delivered by Anna (played by Naomi Watts), a half Russian, half English mid-wife.  The teenage mother dies, and Anna is determined to find her family so the baby can be raised by the girl’s family.  She instead gets herself mixed up in the vicious Russian mob, where she comes to learn that the baby’s teenage mother was brutally raped by the mob boss after she ended up in some sort of brothel.  Nikolai (Viggo Mortensen) is the chauffer for the mob boss’s incompetent son, and is himself involved in some of the terrible brutality that occurs during the movie.  There is a twist (a little predictable) during the movie involving Mortensen’s character that sheds some light on his personality in the movie.

Overall, this was an interesting story, nicely played out, dramatic and violent in parts.  The characters of Nikolai, Semyon, and Kirill have way more depth than Anna, and Naomi Watts seems a little flat in this movie.  I don’t find that I connect with her character – not in any way, sympathetic or otherwise.  There is a revelation during the movie that should evoke sympathy, but I don’t feel it.

I’d say on a 5 star scale, this movie is about a 3.  Definitely worth the price of a ticket or buying the DVD, but probably not one I’d watch multiple times.  There is nudity (hence the naked fighting), some sexual content, and violence.