100 minutes – Thriller
Language: English, Russian, Ukrainian
Festival release date: September 7, 2007 – Toronto International Film Festival
Release date: September 14, 2007
Production companies: BBC Films, Kudos Pictures, Serendipity Point Films, Scion Films
Canadian distributor: Alliance Atlantis
Eastern Promises is, in its broadest terms, an examination of the so-called Russian “Mafia” in England. But the specific story centres on two very different people. The first is the mysterious and often ruthless Nikolai Luzhin (Viggo Mortensen), who is tied to one of London’s most notorious organized crime families. His carefully maintained existence is suddenly threatened by a London hospital midwife, Anna Khitrova (Naomi Watts) who lives far outside the shady underworld inhabited by the Russian mob. When she investigates the identity of a Russian teenager who has died in childbirth, she uncovers a prostitution racket and potential evidence linked to the crime family, thus setting in motion a classic tale of Good vs Evil. To defend his family, Nikolai must put into motion a harrowing chain of murder, deceit, and retribution. Shot in London, Eastern Promises had its North American debut at the 2007 Toronto International Film Festival and went on to win the $15,000 Cadillac People’s Choice Award on the final day of the festival. The nature of the story, and the setting, meant there were few Canadian actors involved in this film.