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ATONEMENT: DVD

SYNOPSIS:
In the English summer of 1935, 13-year-old fledgling writer Briony Tallis (Saoirse Ronan), irrevocably changes the course of several lives when she accuses her older sister Cecilia's (Keira Knightley) lover, Robbie (James McAvoy), a servant's son, of a crime he did not commit. The trauma follows them through World War II.

Review by Andrew L. Urban:
Ian McEwan's Booker-listed novel provides the kind of high value romantic drama as did The English Patient (which won the Booker). This comes to mind as the latter's director, Anthony Minghella plays a small but crucial cameo as a TV book show interviewer. Even the period of Atonement is similar, set just before and during the war (rather than at the end). But Atonement is about a very different kind of betrayal, and Joe Wright (who directed the 2005 version of Pride & Prejudice also starring Keira Knightley) has a terrific adaptation to work with. Wright makes good use of cinematic tools to both propel and clarify the story, and he isn't afraid of silences and stillness to punctuate the emotional narrative.

If you've read the novel you'll know the story and if you haven't, it's better to see the film knowing as little as possible. It's a multi layered story in which the characters and their world are as important as the story itself. And the revelation that explains the title is delivered with a naked simplicity that adds to its impact, thanks to Vanessa Redgrave's performance.

Knightley and McAvoy have enough screen chemistry to sell the romance and both Saoirse Ronan and Romola Garai as the young and grown up Briony respectively, deliver biting performances - which is just as well since so much rests on their acting shoulders.

Beautifully photographed by Seamus McGarvey, the film looks gorgeous one minute (before the war) and harrowing the next (during the war). Dario Marionelli's score cleverly incorporates the sounds of an old fashioned typewriter at key passages, using it as part of the musical palette, often in increasing intensity. It's a film that stands out from the pack for both its emotional payload and for its superb execution.

DVD special features include commentary with director Joe Wright, the making of the film, novel to screen plus deleted scenes with optional commentary.

Published May 1, 2008

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CRITICAL COUNT
Favourable: 2
Unfavourable: 0
Mixed: 0

ATONEMENT: DVD (MA)
(UK/France, 2007)

CAST: James McAvoy, Keira Knightly, Romola Garai, Saoirse Ronan, Brenda Blethyn, Vanessa Redgrave, Juno Temple, Benedict Cumberbatch, Anthony Minghella

PRODUCER: Tim Bevan, Eric Fellner, Paul Webster

DIRECTOR: Joe Wright

SCRIPT: Christopher Hampton (novel by Ian McEwan)

CINEMATOGRAPHER: Seamus McGarvey

EDITOR: Paul Tothill

MUSIC: Dario Marianelli

PRODUCTION DESIGN: Sarah Greenwood

RUNNING TIME: 123 minutes

AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: Universal

AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: December 26, 2007

PRESENTATION: Widescreen

SPECIAL FEATURES: - Feature Commentary with Director Joe Wright[BREAK]- The Making of Atonement[BREAK]- Novel to the Screen[BREAK]- Deleted Scenes with optional Commentary by Director Joe Wright

DVD DISTRIBUTOR: Universal

DVD RELEASE: April 30, 2008







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