Eastern Promises Plot
October 4, 2007 3:27 PM   Subscribe

Question about a plot point in Eastern Promises [SPOILERS INSIDE]

Why did Semyon order the hit on Nikolai and not Kirill? Or, did he actually intend to order the hit on Kirill and Yuri just misinterpreted it to mean that he wanted to kill Nikolai? Even Wikipedia's explanation is murky: The hit [on an earlier character] was not approved by Semyon and was ill-advised with the Chechen gang now coming to London to seek vengeance. Semyon, impressed by Nikolai's knowledge of the criminal underworld and tolerance and protection of his son, hatches a plan to trick Nikolai, now a full member of the vory, so that Nikolai would temporarily take Kirill's place during the meeting with the Chechens at the baths.

This is what I don't get. Semyon did seem impressed by Nikolai. And he did seem to think his son was a fuck-up, a homo, an alcoholic, and out of control. So why would he "hatch a plan" to kill Nikolai? It only makes sense that he'd sacrifice his son and groom Nikolai to be the next in line. So why the switcheroo? Are we to simply believe that he decided at the last minute to save his son? Did I black out for five minutes? I can believe that he suspected Nikolai was a [youknowhat], and that makes the most sense but there didn't seem to be any indication of Semyon discovering anything like that.
posted by billysumday to Media & Arts (8 answers total)
He's still his son. Blood is thicker than water. My take on the movie is that he planned all along to have Nikolai kill. There was no last minute change. Hell, Nikolai's quick and background-check-free advancement to officer is suspicious and a give away.

Arguably, Dad is a bigger fuck-up with all the pregnant slaves he leaves laying around.
posted by damn dirty ape at 3:51 PM on October 4, 2007

err, Nikolai killed. not Nikolai kill.
posted by damn dirty ape at 3:51 PM on October 4, 2007

Semyon may have been impressed by Nikolai, but he was not a born vory (i.e. just a driver) and he was indeed using Nikolai as bait to save his son. His son was blood.
posted by Big Fat Tycoon at 3:52 PM on October 4, 2007

He didn't decide at the last minute. As soon as Yuri told Semyon the Chechens were after his son, Semyon asked "Have they ever seen Kirill?"

They hadn't, so anyone with "stars" could pass for his son, at least in the short term. And if the murder of a 'made man' got the rest of the Russians in London on Semyon's side (as they'd just approved his promotion), all the better, because sooner or later the Chechens will figure out they killed the wrong guy.

Man, that was a great movie.
posted by These Premises Are Alarmed at 4:15 PM on October 4, 2007 [1 favorite]

Or, what the ape said.
posted by These Premises Are Alarmed at 4:16 PM on October 4, 2007

thirding he tried to save his son and play the driver all the way.

the intend was never to make the driver the equivalent of a made man moments after having gotten to know him, regardless of whether he had hung out with his son. the plan was to present a scapegoat to the chechnyans who are presented as just having touched down and unknowing of the face of the son.

I disagree on the father being a greater fuckup. he's quite cunning and has made one mistake as opposed to the many the son has made.
posted by krautland at 4:40 PM on October 4, 2007

Yep- I thought that the point was that Semyon brings Nikolai into the fold is so that he'll get the stars and be a useful proxy for Kiril.
posted by foxy_hedgehog at 5:25 PM on October 4, 2007


Note that both questions about the same point in the same movie have only one common tag.
posted by bru at 5:55 PM on October 4, 2007

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