The ruthless Russian mobsters at the heart of David Cronenberg’s crime thriller – and their softer-hearted enforcer (Viggo Mortensen) – fuel up on borsch and vodka at a London restaurant called Trans-Siberian. IRL, it’s Clerkenwell’s Farmiloe Building, a location that has been used in everything from ‘The Dark Knight Rises’ to ‘Sherlock Holmes’ and that has just had a major facelift.
The location The Farmiloe Building, Clerkenwell, EC1
The scene Midwife Anna (Naomi Watts) delivers the baby of a 14-year-old girl, who dies while giving birth. Anna spots a card for the mysterious Trans-Siberian Restaurant on her body, which is owned by Russian gangsters. She goes to investigate, where she’s observed by heavy Nikolai (Viggo Mortensen).
Then Farmiloe’s mysterious Italianate entrance makes it the perfect frontage for a mobster hideout. (The restaurant’s interiors were filmed at London’s Three Mills Studios, meanwhile). David Cronenberg isn’t the only Hollywood director to make use of the building: it appears frequently in Christopher Nolan’s films, from ‘Inception’ to the Batman trilogy, where it doubles as Gotham City Police Station.
Now Renovation work on this Grade II-listed warehouse was completed last year. It has resulted in a six-storey extension and a brick-for-brick restoration of its Victorian façade. The green door has survived but you can now peer into the building from the street, making it a less enticing spot for bruisers to plot a murder. Bloody windows, eh?
Want to see more shots of our beautiful city on screen? Check out the best London films.