Eastern Promises Blu-Ray Review

Cover Art and Menu: 7/10
It’s a drama thriller type film with a dark edge, so the cover is appropriate, if not a little too tidy for me. The menu is standard with images from the movie and navigation. Someday a menu will come along and knock my socks off, until then, cozy toes cozy toes.

Features: 7/10

  • Secrets & Stories Featurette – We get a good overview of how the story was written and some behind the scenes footage of stunts and things. Cronenberg offers up a lot about the film along with cast members in that standard DVD interview discussion style. It’s good though, don’t get me wrong. I really like the movie so anything more is a huge bonus. It’s not long enough, but then again, when I enjoy something it’s never long enough.
  • Marked For Life Featurette – What’s with those prison tattoos? This extra covers the inky subject and how it changed the whole script.
  • Two Guys Walk Into A Bath House Featurette – Cronenberg tells us about the infamous fight scene and we get a little behind the scenes action as well.
  • Watts On Wheels Featurette (Blu-Ray Exclusive) – Naomi Watts tell us about her fascination with Motorcycles, clocking in at under a minute its hardly a great extra.
  • My Scenes Feature (Blu-Ray Exclusive) – Not so much a extra more a feature of your player, it lets you bookmark scenes (Boring)

The Movie 9/10:
Life is rugged and rough in the city of London when you are a midwife (Naomi Watts) who comes face to face with the Russian mob. Our leading lady works in the city hospital where a young teenage girl gives birth and then dies, leaving only a baby and her diary, which is written in Russian.
Yes, it’s a cool and very literary coincidence that the nurse’s father was Russian, and she has an uncle who can translate, but then again sometimes we take leaps of faith for movies that are worth it, and this movie is worth it.

So, she has this diary, and the baby is alive and well in the hospital but soon Social Services will be taking the child to put her in the system. Our midwife doesn’t want that to happen. She wants to find something in the diary to tell her where the young mother’s family lives, so she can contact them and tell them about the baby. The diary, however, only holds horrific secrets about that the girl has been going through at the hands of some very evil men.

In the middle of all this is a henchman, played by Viggo Mortensen, is the guy working for the Russian mob who does their dirty dirty work. You know the type, carries tools for ‘processing’ bodies before being dumped in the river, and his body is covered with prison tattoos that tell the history of his hard life. Viggo does an excellent job of convincing me he’s a Russian criminal. Not that I know any, but you know what I’m saying. He’s got a way about him that is solid and committed to being the character and it really pays off. One scene is particularly complex, there’s nudity, awkwardness, and a certain exploitive nature. It’s one of the best scenes of its kind I have seen for years.

The whole movie is top quality from the entire cast to the look of every scene. I’m not a fan of Naomi Watts, but she’s won me over with this one. I’m looking forward to seeing her again actually, and that’s quite a turn around. Eastern Promises is one of those stories that took me in and didn’t let go until the end because of so many things. I appreciate that in a film. I was captivated by every character, every scene, and every line of dialogue. Vincent Cassel is so interesting to watch and plays the rogue wild son of a mobster with a certain sexy flair that I cannot deny, even in the presence of my great and wonderful husband. He’s creepy and occasionally sweaty or drunk, and he’s French playing the part with a groovy Russian accent, need I say more?

Back to the plot. Does the baby get a happy home? Does the midwife find the family? Does Viggo become the head of the mob? Does the son of the mob boss earn his father’s respect? Ahhh, these are questions you will have to find out on your own when you watch the movie. I highly recommend you get to it, now, right now. You’ll be glad you did. (Disclaimer: The term “glad” is subject to interpretation. The level of gladness in any viewer after watching the aforementioned movie is the sole responsibility of that viewer.

Audio & Video By Ascully: 8/10
Eastern Promises comes to Blu-Ray in its theatrical 1.85:1 aspect ratio using the VC1 codec, I took a look at the HD DVD version some time ago and this seems to be the exact same encode. The movie is quite grim and dark not only in tone but also its visuals. The VC1 codec loves this type of movie and on Blu-Ray it looks stunning. Take the infamous shower scene the extra resolution Blu-Ray offers lets you see every letter and image tattooed on  Viggo Mortenson’s back.

Audio differs slightly from the HD DVD release instead of the TrueHD track Universal have put a DTS Master Audio version on the Blu-Ray. I always am biased to the DTS versions of soundtracks but in this case its pretty much equal to the TrueHD version, which by the way was refrence quality. Don’t expect your speakers to be given a workout though the movie is mostly dialog but what matters most is that it is all crystal clear.

Value: 7/10
I say add this Blu_Ray to your collection!! Yes, it’s around twenty-five bucks. Yes that’s more than I’m usually willing to spend on a Disc. This time I think it’s worth the price. If you get the standard or any high definition version, it’s all worth it. I will want to see this movie again, so it’s a good investment in some future rainy Saturday afternoon when I’m in the mood for a classic, moody, mob infused drama.

Overall Score 8/10