After a mysterious girl dies giving birth in a London hospital, Anna Khitrova (Watts) discovers the girl’s diary and tries to use it to find the newborn baby’s relatives. Naturally, it is written in Russian so Anna cannot understand it, but her uncle can, and despite his warnings to stay away, she goes off to seek answers at the Trans-Siberian restaurant that is the front of a violet crime family headed by a man named Semyon (Mueller-Stahl). Semyon’s driver Nikolai (Mortensen) takes a liking to Anna, and his allegiances are tested when Anna keeps nosing around to find out what happened to this girl at the hospital and who the father of the baby is.
That’s a very short summary of this movie. And looking at that, one would think you would get, at the least, a fairly decent, gritty crime drama packed with some good action. One would be wrong.
What you do get is a movie that is too busy for it’s hour and 40-minute time frame. And despite it being a busy movie, it somehow manages to be boring at the same time. I can only recall one really good fight scene, but that was in a bathhouse, which resulted in Viggo Mortensen fighting naked.
How this movie got great reviews from so many big time, mainstream film critics is beyond me, but then again, there are countless movies that I don’t understand why Roger Ebert and his cohorts give the praise they do, but perhaps they enjoy the sight of Mortensen’s ass in the bathhouse.
I cannot and will not recommend this movie to anyone. I watched it with my dad and a friend and they were bored to death as well. If you want a good action flick with Viggo Mortensen in it, go watch A History of Violence, it’s a far better film. This, this is just gibberish. It sounds like English, but I can’t understand what it’s saying. Stay away.
Eastern Promises gets a one out of five: AWFUL.
Review originally written in 2009.