directed by David Cronenberg
UK/Canada 2007


David Cronenberg's follow-up to A History of Violence--starring the same lead, Viggo Mortensen, in a very different part--lacks the theoretical dimension of its predecessor, but it's no less masterful in its fluid storytelling and shocking choreography of violence. A Russian Mafia tale with a London setting, scripted by Steven Knight (Dirty Pretty Things), it confirms Cronenberg's position as an old-fashioned, almost Dickensian moralist. He refuses to fetishize corruption the way the Godfather films do, while working wonders with a charismatic villain (Armin Mueller-Stahl in a remarkable performance) and creating a charged homoerotic atmosphere.

Excerpt from Jonathan Rosenbaum's Capsule at the Chicago Reader located HERE


Theatrical Release: 8 September 2007, Toronto Film Festival

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DVD Review: Universal - Region 1 - NTSC

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Region 1 - NTSC

Runtime 101 min

1.85:1 Original Aspect Ratio

16X9 enhanced
Average Bitrate: 8.70 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s

NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.


Audio DD 5.1 English, DUB: DD 5.1 French
Subtitles Optional English SDH, Spanish, French, none
Features Release Information:
Studio: Universal

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen anamorphic - 1.85:1

Edition Details:
• Secrets and Stories
• Marked for Life
• Previews for other movies

DVD Release Date: December 23rd, 2007

Chapters 20



Universal's dual-layered, progressive and anamorphic DVD looks exceptionally competent. Strong detail and bright colors - it looks as good as it can on SD DVD. I expect the upcoming HD edition will improve in the usual areas for high-definition.

The audio is also very good.
An infrequently utilized 5.1 track seems well separated when called upon but the film subsists with its dialogue. The accents can be quite thick and thankfully the DVD is supported with optional English, French or Spanish subtitles (for the English or DUB'ed French audio) and mandatory English subs for the limited use of Russian (and Turkish) language in the film.

Supplements include two short featurettes - “Secrets and Stories” is about 10 minutes long and has some input from Cronenberg and some of the cast about the production and a short overview of the narrative. “Marked for Life” is 6 1/2 minutes focusing on the use of extensive tattoos utilized in the film's storyline.

I liked the film quite a lot. I had a strong sense of A History of Violence while watching Eastern Promises. Typical of Cronenberg the visuals can be harsh (R rating) at times but the storytelling is viable and rich. An interesting and, at times, riveting film experience. Recommended.

 - Gary Tooze


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