There is little I can say about the plot without giving the movie away. I *hate* to do that. So I will tell you what starts the story in motion and the rest will be for you to decide if you wish to watch it or not. A young, unidentified Russian girl dies in the ER while giving birth. All that is on her person is a diary written in Russian. The ER doctor, Anna (Naomi Watts), sets out to try to get the diary translated so she can identify the girl and find the rightful home for the baby. Unfortunately, she couldn't imagine how dangerous her investigation about the girl's identity would become.
Nikolai: "How much do you want for it?"
Anna: "It has sentimental value."
Nikolai: "Ahhh, sentimental value. I have heard of that."
It is a bit subtle, but it says a lot about his character. I read that Viggo went to Russia and Siberia, with just a translator, to try to learn about the Russian mafia lifestyle and study the tattoos which figure prominently into this movie. The research paid off because ... he really nailed it.
Now, I have to warn you, this is a great story and a really good movie. However, it is seriously not for the faint of heart. It is brutal and shocking. There is a lot of graphic violence and unpleasant scenes. I had to wince away from the screen several times myself. Also, there is a fight scene that takes place where Viggo is completely naked and if you don't want to see brief glimpses of male full frontal nudity, then skip that entire scene. It isn't sexy or hot at all. It is a bloody and complex fight scene where the man happens to be completely naked when he is attacked. It fits well into the story and was incredibly brave of Viggo to take on. I just wanted to throw the warning out as I am recommending this one and don't want to hear that I told you to watch something you weren't prepared for. It is meant to shock and it does.
I still recommend this one if you can get past the graphic violence. It is one of those movies that will stay with you for a while. The characters are strong and you will ponder where they go from the point that you leave them. You will also contemplate what is good and what is evil and perhaps the much thinner line between the two than one would think. The voice of the Russian girl, via her diary, will haunt you and make you realize that "Eastern Promises" is the perfect title. It is an amazing piece of work, but it is hard to stomach.