Viggo Mortensen gives one of the greatest cinematic performances ever done in "EASTERN PROMISES." Perhaps even more stunning is the competent, even gripping direction by David Cronenberg! This reviewer admits to having found Cronenberg's previous work vastly over-rated and average at best! But, the script, direction and acting found in "EASTERN PROMISES" makes this film feel on various levels akin to a Russian "Godfather" film. It's epic, even while being a much smaller film than Coppola's masterpiece. When a nurse(Naomi Watts) finds a diary on the body of a young teen girl whom died while giving birth, after previously trying to commit suicide, she enters into a dark world of Russian Organized crime, in London!
Mortensen plays the driver and assistant to the son of a powerful crime boss, and things move in consistently unpredictable, tense ways, after he meets the nurse, when she comes to the crime boss, looking for answers to the girl's death and the father of the child. The film never feels slow and stands out as being consistently intelligent and believable,...not an easy task for a mob film.
UNIVERSAL has used the same VC-1 transfer of the previous HD-DVD release. Every frame of this film, whether in frequently dark settings or the slightly brighter(this is London)daytime settings, offers stunning detail and jump off the screen type of resolution. There's never a flat scene, and colors are much richer than one expects given the film's frequently dark, moody atmosphere.
UNIVERSAL has provided an upgrade over the HD-DVD Dolby Digital TrueHD 5.1 mix, with a new DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 mix. While the film has long passages that feature intentionally subdued effects, these moments are punctuated by surprising violence and immersive surround/discrete effects with maximum impact. It's a great mix, even though often restrained.The two extras found on the dvd and hd-dvd have been carried over in HD for this release.