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The film Eastern Promises Essay

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Updated: Mar 28th, 2019


The film Eastern Promises is unquestionably one of the best movies released in 2007. This is because it addresses crucial issues that are part and parcel of the contemporary society. Furthermore, it presents the issues in a captivating manner by making use of the ritual, text and visual culture.

This essay will look at the grave consequences of each foul action committed by the characters in the film. The essay posits that every sin committed by an individual is bound to leave a mark. Furthermore, the essay echoes the religious stance that when all is said and done, the good always triumphs over the evil.

Major Beliefs

Eastern Promises is a film that vividly highlights the criminal activities of characters that have the audacity to commit ugly crimes against humanity. These characters are in a position to eliminate anything that stands in their way.

The ring leader of this pack of criminals is Semyon, the manager and owner of a Trans-Siberian restaurant. The other perpetrators of the crimes include Kirill, Semyon’s son, Ekrem and Azim. Nikolai, Semyon’s driver and messenger is an undercover police who feigns membership of the gang in order to investigate them.

Throughout the film, all the members, save for Nikolai, are presented as enemies to human integrity in the way they handle other people around them. However, all the above named individuals get a taste of their own medicine as they eventually face the consequences of their misdeeds. The major beliefs addressed in the film are that although the evil always seem to have its way most of the time, the good always prevails in the end.

Background Of The Criminal Gang

According to Plate1, visual culture forms a significant aspect of religion. It enables the members of a particular religion to identify with each other. He gives examples of Islam’s calligraphy and Judaism’s architecture among others. In the movie Eastern Promises, tattoo is the main symbol that depicts visual culture.

The members of the Vory v Zakone criminal family are identified by a special tattoo drilled on each one of them. Just the way Derry2 points out that each religion has a unifying factor that leads to its formation, this gang is formed by inmates from the same prison.

Semyon’s Evilness And Consequences

Semyon, an evil villain is bent on destroying everything on his path that poses a threat to his ambition of dominating everybody around him. He therefore becomes the epitome of evil in the film. His promiscuous acts and propagandas point to the fact that villainy is not a strange term in his daily life.

He is behind most of the remorseless and callous crimes committed by his crew in the film. He also conducts some of the crimes in person. For instance, he personally rapes Tatiana, a fourteen year old girl, and forces her to indulge into prostitution in his own brothel. The consequence of this action is the birth of a baby resulting to Tatiana’s death. Eventually, Semyon pays for the consequences of his action by being sent off to prison.

In addition to that, Semyon uses Nikolai to mischievously plan for the death of Stepan. He does this in a bid to suppress his past criminal acts from resurfacing. This evil plan to kill an innocent person further lays bare the inhuman nature in Semyon.

However, the good triumphs over the evil when Nikolai, without Semyon’s consent, sends away Stepan to another town instead of killing him. Although Semyon’s plan does not succeed, his intentions of spilling the blood of an innocent man are obvious. The arrest of Semyon is therefore an assurance that every sin leaves a mark and that the good will always triumph over the evil.

Semyon’s inconsiderate yearn for evil is further observed when he turns against his own driver and messenger, Nikolai, and plots for his murder. His inhumane nature does not allow him to set limits or boundaries in order to control the extent of his nefariousness.

The fact that the good always defeats the evil is further reiterated when Nikolai singlehandedly fights his would-be murderers and manages to save his own life. Later on, Semyon pays for all his iniquities when he is put behind bars.

Kirill’s Misdeeds And Consequences

Kirill is more or less like his depraved father. He is a close counterpart and accomplice of Semyon in his criminal activities. Kirill’s first remorseless act is exposed in the film when he tries to rape Tatiana. When his effort to commit this sin proves futile, he resolves to treat the poor young girl in a brutal manner.

He pushes her down the stairs and inflicts serious injuries on her body. At this juncture, he collaborates with his evil father who rapes Tatiana amid her muffled screams and pleas for mercy. As fate would have it, Kirill’s vicious acts do not go unnoticed.

They are all written down in Tatiana’s diary which has been translated from Russian to English by Stepan. Kirill is therefore likely to pay for his crimes once the translated version of the diary is handed over to the authorities.

Kirill is also iniquitous when he plans for the murder of Syokam. He does this because he feels that Syokam, who was then the leader of their criminal consortium called Vory V Zakone, was unfit for the position. His presence also threatened Kirill’s position in the criminal brotherhood.

By doing this, Kirill puts his egocentric nature beyond the significance of human life. His brutality is further evidenced when he goes ahead to joke over the dead body of Syokam. This clearly indicates his inhumane nature. However, with the arrest of Semyon and the information contained in the diary, it is a guarantee that Kirill will also be caught by the long arm of the law.

Kirill’s salacious nature is portrayed when he insists that Nikolai should pick a harlot and have sexual intercourse with her. Furthermore, he insists on watching as Nikolai and the prostitute have coitus together.

This sexual perversion of Kirill is another factor that points to his immorality. It is this same perversion that prompts him to forcibly make sexual advances on Tatiana and injure her when he fails to succeed. Kirill will definitely pay back for his iniquities.

Kirill’s remorselessness is further shown when he abducts Tatiana’s baby from the hospital. He further attempts to drown the innocent baby in the river. Were it not for the timely arrival of Nikolai and Ann, Kirill would have certainly killed the baby.

This is yet another instance where Kirill’s disrespect for human life is brought to light. Unluckily for him, he will have to suffer for all his misdeeds when he eventually joins his father in prison.

Ekrem’s Evil Deeds And Consequences

Ekrem is instrumental in executing the criminal directives handed down to him by Kirill and Semyon. As part of the Vory V Zakone criminal brotherhood, he is accustomed to coldblooded murder without a slight feeling of remorse. At the beginning of the film Eastern Promises, he orchestrates the murder of Syokam in the most unimaginable way.

His active involvement in the murder of Syokam, who was his brother in the criminal family, points to his moral decadence. Furthermore, Ekrem exhibits further remorselessness when he pisses on Syokam’s grave after watching his favorite team lose a match. However, he meets his match when his throat is sliced by Syokam’s brothers at that very moment. This lends credence to the religious vantage point that every sin leaves a mark.

Azims’s Wickedness And Consequences

Azim is the one who sets up Syokam’s murder. He has the audacity to hand his nephew, Ekrem, a razor and watch as he slits Syokam’s throat. His act is remorseless because Syokam was undoubtedly his close acquaintance and companion.

Furthermore, Azim shows his brutality when he attempts to stage-manage the murder of Nikolai, his purported friend. Were it not for Nikolai’s agility to save himself, Azim would have watched relentlessly as yet another of his companions gullibly gets caught up in his evil plans.

Nevertheless, Ekrem is sure to receive a dose of his medicine when the law catches up with him. His capture is certainly imminent following the arrest of Semyon, who was his boss.

General Consequences To The Gang

Generally, the members of the Vory V Zakone criminal family have been engaged in a variety of criminal activities. The fact that each one of them was previously in prison is enough evidence to support this claim. Even after serving their previous terms in jail, they still progress with their earlier criminal activities.

However, their criminal brotherhood is set to be torn to pieces by the law enforcers. With Nikolai, a police investigator, at the helm of the gang, it is much easier to arrest all the members of the outlawed gang. Nikolai also have access to all the texts of the gang that contains vital information such as the operations of the gang and its criminal activities. According to Nye3, such texts of a particular group harbor the most authentic information about the gang.


In conclusion, it is evident from the foregoing discussion that although the evil people in the society may have their own way of doing things for certain duration of time, they always get pinned down by the good people eventually.

This is shown as the Vory V Zakone criminal family comes crumbling down right from the top. Each of the gang members whose evil deeds have been highlighted in the film ends up paying for the same in one way or another.

This begins with the gang leader, Semyon, who is sent to prison. This is the beginning of the long process of seeking justice which patiently awaits the criminals. It is indeed true that every sin leaves a mark and that the good always triumph over the evil in the long run.


Derry, Ken. “Indigenous Traditions.” In World Religions: Western Traditions, edited by Willard Oxtoby and Amir Hussain, 322-385. Don Mills: Oxford University Press, 2011.

Nye, Malory. Religion: The Basics. New York: Routledge, 2003.

Plate, Brent. Introduction to Religion, Art, and Visual Culture: A Cross-Cultural Reader. New York: Palgrave, 2002.


1 Brent Plate, Introduction to Religion, Art, and Visual Culture: A Cross-Cultural Reader (New York: Palgrave, 2002), 3.

2 Ken Derry, “Indigenous Traditions,” in World Religions: Western Traditions, ed. Willard Oxtoby and Amir Hussain (Don Mills: Oxford University Press, 2011), 322.

3 Malory Nye, Religion: The Basics (New York: Routledge, 2003), 23.

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