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Eastern Promises Eastern Promises

M.R. Dinkins
December 27, 2007
HDTV Solutions

The story is basically about good and bad Russian expats living and dying in modern London - as is sometimes reflected in today's British press.

Eastern Promises

The protagonists, Nikolai (Viggo Mortensen), a driver for a mob family, and Anna Khitrova (Naomi Watts), a midwife, represent, respectfully, the termination and the nascence of life. Director David Cronenberg's chronicle is about broken promises and token hope. To call it a Russian Godfather is both absolutely correct and totally mistaken, for in addition to the usual contraband commodities, young girls are bought, bartered, stolen or sold. Nuff said.

Eastern Promises

The transfer from film is crisp, though during some scenes in this savage movie, you may crave for the fuzziness of a low definition TV. In one especially excruciating sequence, Viggo Mortensen is brutified - tossed, turned and hammered about a bathhouse with his every body part graphically exposed to unsparingly high definition. But it's not creepy; it's Cronenberg. His engaging-but-gory films never mince murder, grume or grime. (Remember Crash and A History of Violence?)

And, yes, it is a fine film. But the R rating is well deserved. Beyond the wonderful performances by Mortensen and Watts, French actor Vincent Cassel continues to amaze in another of his off kilter roles.

Bonus Features

Extras are as unembellished and lean as the movie. There's the de rigueur interviews with the principals, and a second feature exploring the Russian narrative behind Viggo's vivid tattoos.

Please note, this Combo Format disc contains the HD-DVD movie on one side and on the flip side, the SD version, which includes Spanish subtitles.

Eastern Promises

Studio: Universal

Director: David Cronenberg

Cast: Viggo Mortensen, Naomi Watts, Vincent Cassel, Armin Mueller Stahl

Length: 101 minutes

Rated: R

Video codec: VC-1
Video resolution: 1080p
Aspect ratio: 1:85:1

  Dolby TrueHD 5.1
  Dolby Digital Plus 5.1
  Dolby Digital Plus 5.1

English SDH, French, Spanish

Purchase Eastern Promises (Combo HD DVD and Standard DVD) [HD DVD]

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