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DVD Review: The Painted Veil

Posted on Tuesday, May 22nd, 2007 11:30 AM

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Front Cover ArtworkThe Painted Veil
DVD - Single Disc
Warner Home Video 58557 - Region 1
125 minutes

List Price: $27.95 (Check Price at Amazon.com)

Available on DVD 5/8/2007

 TheatricalThis DVD
Aspect Ratio:2.35:1 2.35:1

Dolby Digital

Dolby Digital 5.1

Disc 1 Contents

About the Movie

Set in Colonial-era China, a doctor from London brings his new wife to Shanghai, only to find that she doesn't love him, and is having an affair with an ambassador. He decides to punish her by taking her to a village deep inside China that has been stricken with a cholera epidemic, away from the temptations of Shanghai, where he plans to solve the mystery behind the epidemic. What starts out as a battle of wills becomes a means for both to redeem themselves by finding their own purpose in life and tearing down the wall between them.

How Does it Look?

Naomi Watts and Edward Norton

The video quality was good, with only slight video banding present in the final scene between Watts and Norton. Overall, the visuals were slightly muted, but that was in keeping with the tone of the movie, so it should not be seen as a negative factor. The movie was filmed on location in China, and the movie benefits from the natural authenticity the locations provide.

My Pioneer DVD player reported an average bit rate between 5.6-7.9 Mbps during several samples in the movie. Peaks exceeding 8 Mbps were also noted.

How Does it Sound?

Audio quality was acceptable, but unremarkable. Considering the type of movie this is, the lack of any distracting artifacts is all that is needed, and this disc doesn't disappoint in that regard.


The only extra is the movie's trailer. While sparse, I like to see the trailer included as a way to appreciate how the movie was marketed to audiences. It would have been nice to see some sort of featurette on the political and other influences on 1920s China, against which this story was set. Since the movie was filmed on location, a little bit of information about the experiences of the crew would have been interesting to watch.


The movie received a very small release in theaters and its best chance to be seen will be on DVD. Norton and Watts are great in their roles, and both seem to immerse themselves with ease. While most of the screen time is devoted to them, the supporting performances by Toby Jones and Diana Rigg are excellent.

It is well worth watching, and I recommend it to anyone interested in watching a movie with depth to its characters and a storyline that takes them along a path from one level to another.

Recommended Reading

Don't just take our word for it, check out these resources for more reviews of the movie and of the DVD.

Netflix, Inc.
Check Prices on Amazon.com

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