Release Date(s)2007 (January 26, 2010)
Studio(s)Focus Features (Universal)
- Film/Program Grade: A
- Video Grade: A
- Audio Grade: A-
- Extras Grade: B-
Atonement, from Ian McEwan’s novel of the same title, was one of the best films of 2007 and now it’s one of the best early Blu-rays of 2010. It recounts a young girl’s observance of a passionate embrace between her sister and a childhood friend and the resulting jealousy that drives her to tell a lie that will change the course of all their lives forever. The novel was a masterful blend of the lyrical, the brutal, and the surprising and it has been perfectly captured on film by director Joe Wright. Readers of the book will be aware of the narrative’s startling conclusion, but it’s completely and thankfully un-telegraphed by the film. Suffice it to say that it gives significantly added meaning to the title. A very strong cast headed by Keira Knightly and James McAvoy and supported by Saoirse Ronan and Romola Garai completely draws one into the narrative. The period story (basically from the mid-1930s to the early war years) is very authentically staged, with the Dunkirk retreat strikingly recreated. Universal’s Blu-ray release is a superior one indeed.
The 1.85:1 transfer is a glorious celebration of colour and texture, capturing the period sets with vibrancy, sharpness and excellent shadow detail. Skin tones are spot on, dimensionality is natural-looking, and there is no suggestion of digital manipulation whatsoever. A model of what a superior transfer should be! Almost matching the image for excellence is the richly immersive yet subtle DTS-HD Master audio. Supplements include a very informative audio commentary by the director, a good making-of documentary, and several deleted scenes. Very highly recommended.
- Barrie Maxwell