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  Specs
  • 16:9 Enhanced
  • Pan&Scan
  Languages
  • English: Dolby Digital Surround
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  Extras
  • Behind the scenes footage
  • Interviews

Onegin

Madman Entertainment/AV Channel . R4 . COLOR . 102 mins . M15+ . PAL

  Feature
Contract

Labelled as "A timeless masterpiece of love and obsession", Onegin is one of Russian poet Alexander Puskin's better known works, about a wealthy bachelor named Evgeny Onegin. Evgeny is wealthy enough to live a life of privilege and leisure in St Petersburg, although his extravagant lifestyle has begun to erode his financial resources.

His wealth and high standing haven't brought him much pleasure of late. He is tired of the seemingly endless series of social engagements with the same boring recipe of shallow conversation and idle gossip. A distraction is soon at hand when a letter arrives asking Evgeny to visit his ailing uncle in the country. Evgeny somewhat reluctantly decides to undertake the journey, as he is likely to be the sole beneficiary of his uncle's estate should he pass away. He arrives to find that his uncle has already died and at the reading of his will, Evgeny is indeed the recipient of his uncle's substantial holdings.

With no other pressing matters, Evgeny decides to stay on at the estate. He meets and befriends a neighbour, Vladimir, while out riding one day and through Vladimir is introduced to the Larina family. Tatyana, the youngest daughter, falls in love with the sophisticated Evgeny and tells him of her feelings in a letter. Evgeny is not interested in a relationship and while not cruel, he coldly rejects her advances during a private moment at her birthday party.

Vladimir is engaged to Tatyana's older sister, Olga, and her attraction to Evgeny begins to raise feelings of jealousy in Vladimir. Things boil over when Olga dances rather too enthusiastically with Evgeny at Tatyana's birthday party. After a tragic event, Evgeny leaves the country and travels for many years. During this time he revisits Tatyana's love letter and begins to realise that he loves her. Upon his return to St Petersburg he discovers that Tatyana is now married to his royal cousin, but even this fact cannot diminish his growing infatuation with her.

In her debut as a feature film director, Martha Fiennes impresses. She has extracted some wonderful performances from her cast by keeping the pace steady, giving them room to convey their feelings in more than just words and has created some lovely period imagery. She and her cinematographer (Remi Adefarasin) have given the film a beautiful look with many examples of well considered framing and wonderful lighting.

This movie is something of a Fiennes family affair with older brother Ralph starring and serving as executive producer. Another brother Magnus, wrote the score for the film.

  Video
Contract

Overall this is a nice looking 16x9 enhanced transfer, but one not without some flaws.

This transfer reveals a lot of fine detail and is, for the most part, nice and sharp. Just occasionally the sharpness level drops away slightly, but I doubt that you'll notice this during normal viewing.

This transfer features a natural colour palette with well balanced colours that seem accurate to the times in which the story is set. The black level is fine and scenes set at night or in shadow show a natural level of detail.

The print that was used for this transfer is pretty clean, with only a handful of film artefacts noted during the entire movie. One thing that you may notice is fine film grain. It becomes noticeable in scenes showing a large amounts of mist, snow or sky but is never a distraction.

Some MPEG artefacts can be seen during the film, most notably in dark scenes. Should you look for it, you can see some macro blocking and pixelisation in a couple of scenes. During one transition from black some posterisation is evident in the skin tones of Evgeny's dead uncle. If you look for it, you'll notice some minor edge enhancement in a couple of scenes.

This is an RSDL disc with the layer change taking place at 78:34.

  Audio
Contract

As this is mainly a dialogue driven film, having only a Dolby Digital 2.0 audio track is not much of a problem. The soundstage is quite front-centric, as you would expect, but when it does come to the fore, the score has a lovely full sound to it thanks to support from surrounds. The surrounds also get some work carrying ambient sounds although this isn't always as effective as it could be. The voices of the actors come through cleanly and remain in sync throughout.

  Extras
Contract

News Reports: Running for around 19 minutes, this extra is actually a number of EPK pieces strung together. It is all pretty standard stuff and unlikely to be visited more than once.

Interviews: Again, a number of EPK pieces strung together that features the main cast and crew complimenting one another and discussing their roles in the film. Yawn! This one runs for just over 22 and a half minutes.

  Overall  
Contract

A well crafted film that features some strong performances, but a story that I found difficult to connect with. I didn't feel for Evgeny at all, I thought he was a prat that got what he deserved!

From a quality perspective this is a solid disc that warrants at least a rental for those who are interested in the movie.

Finally, if you care to, read about Puskin's life, he was an interesting character whose behaviour got him into a fair bit of trouble!


  • LINK: http://www.dvd.net.au/review.cgi?review_id=1143
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      And I quote...
    "The Fiennes family tag team production of one of Alexander Puskin's better known works is nicely made but is not going to appeal to everyone."
    - Michael Chappell
      Review Equipment
    • DVD Player:
          Loewe Xenix 5006DD
    • DVD Rom:
          Pioneer 105(s)
    • MPEG Card:
          RealMagic Hollywood Plus
    • TV:
          Grundig MW82-50/8 IDTV 16:9
    • Receiver:
          Denon AVR-2801
    • Speakers:
          Tannoy Mercury M4
    • Centre Speaker:
          Tannoy Mercury MC
    • Surrounds:
          Tannoy Mercury M1
    • Subwoofer:
          Aaron SUB-120
    • Audio Cables:
          Monster Lightspeed 100
    • Video Cables:
          ConCord SCART
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