Eastern Promises (2007) [Blu-ray]
|Genre(s): Crime / Drama / Mystery / Thriller|
|Universal || R - 100 minutes - $29.98 || October 14, 2008|
|Reviewer: Brad Lowenberg || Posted On: 2008-10-14|
Writer(s): Steven Knight (screenplay)
Cast: Viggo Mortensen, Naomi Watts, Vincent Cassel
Theatrical Release Date: September 21, 2007
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David Cronenberg. Love the guy. Where would we be without such hits as Videodrome and The Fly? Well, after twenty years or so of doing literally nothing he comes back to theaters with A History of Violence followed up with Eastern Promises. My of my has so much changed since then... gone are the over the top effects I had seen as a child watching Videodrome and the physical changes the Brundlefly went through in The Fly.
Eastern Promises opens up as we are introduced to a young woman who seemingly goes into labor at a local drug store. After being rushed to the hospital to give birth, she suddenly dies, leaving behind a beautiful baby girl. The mid-wife on duty, Anna (Naomi Watts) finds a diary written in Russian and is determined to find out if the new born has any relatives that can take care of her. After unsuccessfully trying to get her Uncle to translate it, she eventually goes to Semyon (Armin Mueller-Stahl) who runs a local restaurant.
After he agrees to translate it for her, she quickly finds out that his son, Kirill (Vincent Cassel) and their driver, Nikolai (Viggo Mortensen) continue to wreak havoc on her and her family by stalking them and giving them veiled threats because she knows who the babies true father is. Eventually the film comes to its climax where all of our suspicions are answered.
Acting can be a bit over the top in some cases. Anna is hardly ever used, and when we do see her, she is riding her motorcycle and proving to be a bit too stupid (going by herself to their restaurant and accusing them of rape? C'mon!). Viggo is clearly the shining star of the film showing him to be not only a simple limo driver, but also a man in the mob and maybe holding a deep dark secret.
Overall it was a pretty decent film. The plot from the back of the case left a bit to be desired, but once I started watching it I instantly starting connecting with the characters as the film progressed and really felt like I was watching a pilot for an upcoming TV show. The ending seems to setup a sequel in some way which would be a great thing - as the characters are very compelling as is the nature of the mob scene.
All Special Features are presented in HD.
MyScenes (Profile 2.0 Only) - This little feature allows you to bookmark your favorite scene to watch later or share them with friends via BD-Live. ** Blu-ray Exclusive **
Secrets and Stories (10 Minutes) - The "making of..." gives some insight as to why Cronenberg chose the film and other useless tidbits of information.
Marked for Life (6 Minutes) - A look at some of the tattoos featured in the film and their meaning.
Also included is Two Guys Walk into a Bath House (2 Minutes) & Watts on Wheels (1 Minute); both fairly useless features.
Wow, twenty whole minutes of features. For those keeping track, this includes the previous HD DVD features as well as two new features (Two Guys and Watts on Wheels) that were on the DVD.
.::AUDIO & VIDEO::.
Eastern Promises comes to Blu-ray presented in its Original Aspect Ratio 1.85:1 on a 25GB Disc. A very nice transfer that has very dark blacks and some vibrant colors. Grain was present (but on purpose) and I didn't notice any DNR. Still, I can't help feeling that a film that's barely a year old wouldn't look just a wee bit better.
Universal has included a DTS MA track for this release (previously it was a TrueHD track on HD DVD). All and all not very impressive. The film is so dialog driven that my rear speakers barely had anything coming out of them besides the occasional noise here and there. Of course the film is dialog driven (and luckily that was just fine).
Eastern Promises is an interesting film but I can't see it having much replay value to it. The Blu-ray boasts average picture and audio quality but severely lacks on special features making this film a rental only.