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Eastern Promises

Every sin leaves a mark. 

Year: 2007 
Running Time:
Aspect Ratio: Unknown 
Certificate: BBFC 18 Cert – Not suitable for under 18s 
Subtitles: The level of subtitling in this film is unknown to WSC 
Directed by Unknown 
Starring: Unknown  
An image from Eastern Promises

Director: David Cronenberg

Starring: Josef Altin, Mina E. Mina, Aleksandar Miki

At a time when the government is attempting to present us with a new vision for London, revamped by the largest sports competitions in the world, David Cronenberg shatters our illusions by presenting us with a film that focuses on that seedy underbelly of the city that so many directors are fond of. Brutal murders, the chilling cruelty of prostitution and a complete lack of remorse are just a few of these Eastern Promises.

Viggo Mortensen (Lord of the Rings) plays Nikolai, the driver of a Russian Mafia family, a driver whose tasks include disposing of the remains of men who have incurred his employers’ wrath. Each task sees him rise in stature and breed new responsibilities, his calm, mysterious nature belying a quick mind and a ruthless desire for promotion. His ties to Kirill, the drunken, rash son of Crime-boss Semyon, give him a small hint of security – but no-one is secure in this world. The men are refined, eat well and host most cordially, but their professionalism lies in many much more violent acts. This film is not for those scared of a little blood.

Woe betide then Anna (Naomi Watts, The Ring), a kind-hearted doctor with Russian heritage when she unwittingly stumbles upon this world. A young girl, only fourteen but with more horror in her life than most of us could dare think possible, dies upon Watts’ operating table – but the child she leaves gives Watts a new passion in her lonely, faltering life. It is when Watts comes to Semyon, lured in by his unnerving but charismatic character that she discovers a hideous existence of drugs and people-trafficking and a secret that endangers the lives of her family, her own and even that of the child she has been seeking to help. Where can she turn at a time when she has no defences, no knowledge of a terrifying danger and with so many lives hanging in the balance – save perhaps to a man who lives and breathes that life day in, day out…

Rhodri Renno

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Screenings of this film:

2007/2008 Spring Term (35mm)
2007/2008 Spring Term (35mm)