Director Atom Egoyan makes the kind of films that are either completely lost on an audience or treasured by it. While his "THE SWEET HEREAFTER" was widely praised by critics, this reviewer felt it strangely detached and muddled. However, his latest, "ADORATION," available on blu-ray from SONY, while requiring patience and some work from its viewers, is arguably a masterpiece.
Devon Bostick plays Simon, a high schooler whom gives a unique twist to an assignment in his French class, allowing for deep family secrets and suspicions to emerge, and for various characters to achieve some form of redemption. When the French teacher, Sabine(the director's real-life wife), asks the class to translate a real news story about a terrorist whom has planted a bomb in the luggage of his pregnant girlfriend, Simon decides to translate the story, while inserting aspects of his own family into it, making his deceased father take the place of the original terrorist. Simon is actually an orphan, and suspects that his father had intentionally crashed the family car years before, killing him and his wife, leaving Simon without parents, and now residing with his uncle.
The simple alteration of a few facts causes a major reaction as the reaction to the assignment becomes bigger with internet discussion. Simon, his teacher, uncle and many others become part of a larger story of the human condition, and the film's narrative raises important questions without easy answers. Egoyan succeeds in making what could've easily become a muddled mess, gripping, provocative and even poignant. "ADORATION" demonstrates how much a role perspective plays in virtually every aspect of life, as well as exploring the unique, almost magical powers of "love," something that everyone has the ability to give, cherish, or receive. Everyone in this film is well cast, and provides terrific performances, but Scott Speedman, as the uncle, is the biggest surprise. He gives an "oscar" worthy performance and proves that there are some great actors stuck in mediocre films(UNDERWORLD,ETC)deserving a chance like this to really show what they're capable of! Bravo, Speedman, BRAVO!
"ADORATION" isn't the kind of film that can be revisited often, but it's the kind of film one will want to turn friends on to, and even to revisit with them on a special occasion. It shouldn't be missed!
SONY has provided the correct 1.78:1 aspect ratio for this 1080p/AVC MPEG-4 blu-ray release. Colors are intentionally restrained for the most part, keeping in tone with the somber environment, however this lack of vibrancy is completely in line with the original theatrical presentation. Detail is impressive in every scene, even with a thin layer of grain present throughout. While the image doesn't particularly jump off the screen, it's rarely flat. Blacks aren't inky, but consistently deep enough to retain fine detail in even the darkest scenes.
Blu-ray enthusiasts should be happy that SONY has been releasing more titles with "DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1" mixes, as is the case here! While the mix isn't a tour-de-force, the music is essential in enhancing some key sequences, and it's brilliantly represented in this lossy mix. While not an aggressive mix, subtle nuances and some well balanced directional effects are brilliant when utilized. Most of the mix is center channel focused due to heavy dialogue, but the result is ultimately impressive.
All of the extras are presented in 480p, with the exception of 1080p trailers, and a Q&A with Egoyan lasting about 14 minutes. Extras include behind the scenes featurettes and an interesting segment, "TAKE THREE" wherein actors in their "roles," debate social concerns raised within the film.