Following the recent successes, SPIDER and A HISTORY OF VIOLENCE, director David Cronenberg has quickly turned into a filmmaker whose next film is a cause for excitement. Not quite on the same level as his past two productions, EASTERN PROMISES is still a compelling thriller that peers into the underworld of the Russian mob in London. Cronenberg's HISTORY OF VIOLENCE star Viggo Mortensen deserves an Oscar nomination as the lead in a cast full of excellent performances.
A 14-year-old prostitute dies during childbirth. Midwife Anna (Naomi Watts, KING KONG) finds the girl's diary, which is written in Russian, and makes an effort to get it translated, so that she can find the girl's family. She eventually follows a business card found in the girl's journal for a private Russian restaurant, where she meets the owner Semyon (Armin Mueller-Stahl, SHINE), who claims he does not know the girl, but offers to translate the diary for her. In meeting Semyon, she meets his drunk and leering son Kirill (Vincent Cassel, IRREVERSIBLE) and the stoic driver Nikolai (Mortensen), who we soon learn are involved in the bloody murder that starts off the picture.