DVD Review: Atonement

From the award-winning director of Pride and Prejudice comes a stunning, critically acclaimed epic story of love, betrayal, and all its consequences. When a young girl catches her sister in a passionate embrace with a childhood friend, her jealousy drives her to tell a lie that will irrevocably change the course of all their lives forever. Academy Award nominee Keira Knightley and James McAvoy lead an all-star cast in the film critics are calling “the year’s best picture” (Thelma Adams, US Weekly).

At first, the film adaption of Atonement is difficult to grasp for viewers unaware of the well-crafted novel by Ian McEwan. Although brilliantly filmed, and acted, the film lacks the tug-at-the-heart it so requires perhaps due to confused emotions sensed through a beginning (when viewers should be hooked) froth with a maze of flashbacks and whispered voices smothered in British dialogue. The introduction of characters was confusing at times through this process.

Thankfully the story finally unfolds after its tedious start taking us into a sensitive and emotional look at a young girl’s lifelong struggle that began with resentment, but reverted to remorse. I wondered where it all was leading until the final frames, which caught the audience by surprise.

Stunning cinematography and a well written script (Christopher Hampton) kept our interest regardless of the slow outset finally bringing the work to life. Kudos all the same for Directer Joe Wright (Pride and Prejudice).

Extras on this release include deleted scenes, Bringing the Past to Life: The Making of Atonement, From Novel to Screen: Adapting a Classic, and a feature commentary with director Joe Wright. This decent amount of additional footage helps to round off this release quite nicely.

Review by Henry P. Gravelle

Grade: A
Official site: http://www.focusfeatures.com/
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