Briony Tallis (Ronan), an aspiring playwright, lives on a country estate in pre-World War II England with her mother and older sister, Cecilia (Knightley). When Briony catches Cecilia and the maid's son, Robbie (McAvoy), in an intimate position, she is hurt and confused by what she sees. Driven by jealousy, Briony accuses Robbie of a crime he did not commit. The repercussions of her unfounded claim will affect Robbie and Cecilia for the rest of their lives, and leave Briony in search of "Atonement" for her transgressions. Based on the novel by Ian McEwan. (Stacey Pendry)
Special features include seven deleted scenes with an optional commentary track by Director Joe Wright, the following featurettes: Bringing The Past To Life: The Making Of Atonement (27 minutes) and From Novel To Screen: Adapting A Classic (five minutes), a feature commentary track by the director, and previews.
The anamorphically enhanced 1.85:1 DVD shows good resolution, but the entire image is somewhat washed out and pasty, especially in the early scenes. Whites often bloom and black levels are elevated. Shadow delineation is fairly good though. The blooming whites seem to be intentional, as they do not appear later in the presentation. Color bleeding can also be recognized and noise can be visible in the darker scenes. Edge enhancement is not a huge problem, but pixilation and compression artifacts can be distracting. The VC-1-encoded HD DVD still looks overblown with pasty fleshtones and less-than-ideal black levels, but compression artifacts are not noticeable, and the color bleeding has been corrected. Noise is still apparent in some scenes, but it is not as overpowering. Details are resolved fairly well, but there are scenes that appear soft. (Danny Richelieu)
The Dolby® Digital 5.1-channel soundtrack features a broad front stage, especially for the well-mixed music. Dialogue sounds natural. The surround channels are not incorporated with much vigor, and they can be drowned out by the much higher-in-level front channels. The LFE channel is incorporated fairly well when deep bass is involved, with the front corner channels also used nicely to deliver bass. The soundtrack is enjoyable, but not quite at the level of the best. The HD DVD's Dolby Digital Plus encoding provides a subtle improvement in overall fidelity, but it is very subtle. (Danny Richelieu)