has an average rating of 7.9 on IMDb
1080p in AVC MPEG-4 on a 50gb disc
DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio
includes BD-Live & DVD ports
– 123 Minutes
This uses 36.8GB for the movie out of 39.3GB total.
Street Date: January 26th, 2010
Overall Verdict – Perfect for Date Night
— Review written by: Brendan Surpless —
The Movie Itself was directed by Joe Wright” (known for directing the 2005 version of “Pride & Prejudice“), is an adaptation of Ian McEwan’s novel of the same name and is based on a screenplay by Christopher Hampton. The film takes place in 1935 and surrounds the events of the Tallis family. Briony (Saoirse Ronan) is an aspiring writer and youngest of three. She has just finished writing a play entitled “The Trials of Arabella“, which is about the complications of love. Her older sister Cecilia (Keira Knightley) is studying English Literature at Cambridge University. Robbie Turner (James McAvoy), the son of their housekeeper, has recently graduated from Cambridge (thanks in part to fees paid for by Cecilia’s father) and is bound for medical school. Cecilia isn’t despises Robbie for she finds him to be brash and annoying.
With her play now finished, Briony wants to perform the play for her family. She enlists her cousins (Jackson and Peirrot) assistance but the subject matter turns them off. One day while sitting in her bedroom, Briony witnesses what she deems to be a sexual act between Robbie and Cecilia. She immediately forms an opinion on Robbie based on this and based on her attraction to him. Feeling awful about this, Robbie writes repeated apologies to Cecilia, one of which is found by Briony, only adding to her view of him. Making matters even worse, Briony witnesses Robbie and Cecilia making love against a bookcase later that same evening. Briony, in her innocence, believes Robbie is assaulting her sister. Soon we find out that the twin brothers Jackson and Peirrot have run off. Everyone goes their separate ways in hopes of finding the two brothers. Along the way, Briony witnesses her cousin Lola (Juno Temple) being raped by an older man. Back at the estate, Briony is questioned by the police to which she points the figure at Robbie. Robbie is immediately arrested and sent to prison. The rest of the film deals with the events taking place in 1940 where Robbie is now enlisted in the British Expeditionary Force (part of his release from prison was that he enlist in the army).
A story like that told in “Atonement” is nothing all that new. A lie taken too far separates families, shaping events that change the way their futures play out. What separates “Atonement” from others in this genre is both the acting and the absolutely breathing, beautiful score by Dario Marianelli. Marianelli actually won an Oscar for this score, which perfectly captures not only even emotion and locale but actually each physical character. The music actually reminded me of “Brokeback Mountain” in that both scores represented not only the time period but also the subtle longing for two people who were deeply in love with one another and their longing for each other.
Keira Knightley’s performance here, in a word, is stunning. Granted I’ve seen her stretch her acting chops before in “Pride & Prejudice” and the recent “The Duchess“, but here she blew me away. Perhaps because of her background and nationality, these roles seem almost too easy for Knightley. Now please don’t think I’m saying that Knightley is taking a short cut, not at all. I’m simply saying that she assimilates into each of them with such a fluid motion that one might think that she was born to play these types of roles. She acts in a complete natural manner making us think that she’s not playing a character per say but almost channeling a past family member. I would personally love to see her do something from Shakespeare in the near future.
In closing, “Atonement” is more proof that Knightley just may be one of the finest actors alive. Her continuing ability to deliver one stellar performance after another is simply amazing. With a truly moving story that moved me to near tears in some moments, fantastic acting and a beautiful, haunting score, “Atonement” comes highly recommended.
Video Quality on this release is in full 1080p using the AVC MPEG-4 codec on a BD-50 (50 gigabyte, dual layered Blu-ray Disc) in the 1.85:1 aspect ratio. The film’s color palette features very warm colors that all but help capture both the varying locales as well as the film’s thematic elements. Darker colors, as there are a handful of night sequences, hold up well with deep, dark blacks that looked solid. Contrast levels are accurate. Fleshtones are as well for the most part but there are a few instances where some of the characters looked too bright (almost an sun-baked tone to their skin). Grain levels are minimal and the film’s print is in immaculate condition (no evidence of damage or any noise). Detail is breathtaking at times, really popping off the screen giving us the occasional “3-D” pop that we love to mention. All in all this earns a near perfect “4.5 Star Rating“.
Audio Quality on this release is presented in DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio. With this film being primarily dialogue driven, I was pleased that the dialogue was well reproduced with no real instance of drop out or any scene that would require a sudden volume change. LFE, for the most part, is silent except toward the ending of the film thanks to a few varying explosions. Dynamics are active mostly from background dialogue or when the score moves from the front channels to the film’s whole soundstage. Speaking of the score, I immediately moved by the score. Dario Marianelli’s score, as I mentioned above, brings the true essence and power of each scene to the forefront in a manner that draws us not only into the performances but also the world the film embodies. All in all this is a good upgrade from the HD DVD earning a “4 Star Rating“.
Bonus Materials are presented in Standard Definition video with Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo sound @192kbps.
- BD-Live: As per all Universal titles, BD-Live is included and gives fans access to current and upcoming trailers and bonus content.
- Deleted Scenes: Here we get close to 7 minutes worth of deleted scenes. The provided scenes felt like more of a scene extension rather than adding any further weight to the film.
- Bringing the Past to Life: Running near 27 minutes in length, this was a making of that I had hoped would be more than your standard run-of-the-mill EPK. Unfortunately this is just that. Granted we do have a few comments from Knightley, McAvoy and Wright speaking on various aspects of the film’s making, but this just felt too standard.
- From Novel to Screen: This runs a brief 6 minutes in length focusing on bringing the novel to the big screen.
- Feature Commentary with Director Joe Wright: Normally I don’t find much to mention about commentaries found on films, but I was quite impressed with what Wright offered. Of interest was his desire to bring this novel to the big screen as well as the ending sequence. Certainly worth a listen for fans.
Blu-ray Disc packaging:
NOTE: The full-sized 1920×1080 files are in a .PNG file format and uncompressed. Bare with the slow loading times, keep in mind these files are at least 1MB (1 megabyte) in size each.