Eastern Promises

Featured In Issue 129, March 2008

WSR Score4.5
Basic Information on new release titles is posted as soon as titles are announced. Once reviewed, additional data is added to the database.
Universal Music & Video Distribution
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Strong brutal and blooddy violence, graphic sexuality,language ans some nudity
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Dual Side/Dual Layer (HD DVD30/DVD9)
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David Cronenberg
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Dolby TrueHD 5.1, Dolby Digital+ 5.1
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An unidentified Russian teenager is rushed to a London hospital after going into labor. The teen, lured to London with Eastern Promises of a good job, instead finds herself traded as a sex slave by the Russian Mob. With the help of Anna (Watts), a midwife, the teen delivers a healthy baby girl, before tragically dying from complications from the birth. Even though the unnamed girl has died, her secrets have not, as she kept a diary. When Anna enlists the help of a restaurateur, Semyon (Mueller-Stahl), to translate the diary, she soon fears the kindly man is not what he seems. Before long the truth begins to unfold, and Anna believes two members of the Russian Mafia, Krill (Cassel) and Nikolai (Mortensen) mean to harm the innocent newborn. (Stacey Pendry)

Special features include the following featurettes: Secrets And Stories (ten minutes) and Marked For Life (seven minutes).

The anamorphically enhanced 1.83:1 DVD has a harsh appearance, with a gritty texture and a warm, earthy color scheme. It makes the imagery look much older than it actually is. Details are captured well, with good resolution, and contrast is balanced well. Black levels are not as deep as they could be, but shadow delineation is nicely rendered. The picture can have an acceptably dimensional look to it, but can also look somewhat washed-out at times. Pixel breakup is not much of a problem and edge enhancement is relatively minor, although it can be noticed on high-contrast transitions. The VC-1-encoded HD DVD looks superb, with solid blacks, impressive resolution, and nicely rendered shadow detail. Occasionally, however, the image can look somewhat hazy. The image has a good impression of depth and is generally impressive. (Danny Richelieu)

The Dolby® Digital 5.1-channel soundtrack is quite expansive, with a good sense of depth and expansiveness beyond the physical dimensions of the room. Imaging is also very good, with the front and rear stages mixed nicely. The two stages are meshed well with good sidewall imaging as well, helping create a more natural-sounding experience. Dialogue sounds natural with good fidelity. There are scenes that are dominated by the center channel, but corner full-range channels are still incorporated well for subtle atmospheric effects. Occasionally a shuffling distortion can be heard, but it is not overly distracting. The HD DVD's lossless Dolby TrueHD encoding features the same mix, which can be limited but can also sound quite impressive. Fidelity is pure and dynamic range is good, but a shuffling noise can be heard from time to time. (Danny Richelieu)