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Absolution - Limited Edition Blu Ray [Blu-ray] [Region Free]
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- Is Discontinued By Manufacturer : No
- Language: : English
- Parcel Dimensions : 18.03 x 13.76 x 1.48 cm; 83 Grams
- Media Format : Import, NTSC
- Release date : Oct. 5 2018
- Studio : Powerhouse Films
- ASIN : B07FB3X36N
- Number of discs : 1
- Customer Reviews:
At a Catholic boys' school, domineering disciplinarian Father Goddard (Richard Burton, Look Back in Anger The Spy Who Came In from the Cold) rules over his pupils with an iron hand. When one of his teenage charges confesses to murder, the dogmatic but deeply repressed Goddard finds his faith challenged and his life spiralling dangerously out of control. Also starring Billy Connolly (in his first feature-film role), Dominic Guard (The Go-Between, The Picnic at Hanging Rock), Kes star Dai Bradley, and the inimitable Brian Glover (Kes, Jabberwocky, Alien 3), and written by the great Anthony Shaffer The Wicker Man i, Sleuth), Absolution is one of British cinema's most underrated chillers, not least for a towering central performance by Burton.
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Meanwhile Blakely, a hippie biker (Billy Connolly) camps out in the woods nearby and has befriend Benjei who sneaks out at night to see him. Blakely's basic life philosophy contradicts the church and he places the idea in Benjei's head of feeding Father Goddard a false confession of a serious nature, one that would cause him to go crazy because he has to keep the secret: "A priest may not break the seal of confession" for any reason. Oh let the head games begin.
This is an older film I had not seen before. I loved the twist. Part of a 70's fifty film DVD pact.
Guide: No swearing, sex, or nudity.
The film's twisty plot is pure Shaffer -- a rigid, conservative system is thrown into chaos by the arrival of a liberating, almost pagan force (which, in a typical Shaffer twist, turns out to be as false as the establishment it destroys) and a great deal of senseless violence ensues. In Absolution, that establishment is the Catholic Boys School where Richard Burton teaches and dotes on one student (Dominic Guard) to an uncomfortable degree. That pagan force shows up as a bearded, Scottish drifter and theif (comedian Billy Connolly) who camps out in the countryside outside the school and ends up befriending Guard and leading the youth away from Burton and religion in general. (One of the film's flaws is that Guard's drastic transformation from good Catholic boy to Pagan prankster comes far too quickly.) Eventually, under Connolly's suggestion, Guard starts to tell Burton elaborate stories of sin during confession -- tormenting the priest with information that, as a priest, Burton is not allowed to share with anyone else. Eventually, what started as a joke spirals out of control into a vortex of murder, madness, and a surprise ending that comes out of nowhere but remains a lot of fun nonetheless.
Poorly directed by TV vet Anthony Page, the film's main appeal is to be found in its script and cast. Though not up to Shaffer's best work, Absolution -- especially early on -- displays a good deal of his stringent wit and he does a good enough job of keeping the story moving quickly enough that its not obvious just how ludicrous much of it is. He's helped by strong performances from his principles. Billy Connolly is likeable in a performance that'll surprise Americans who know him only as Howard Hesseman's replacement on Head of the Class. Andrew Kier, the final Prof. Quartermass, is a welcome presence as the school's head master while, as the two most distinctive students, Dominic Guard and David Bradley give nicely nuanced turns that alternate between youthful innocence and enigmatic slyness. Both Guard and Bradley were former child stars and both pretty much vanished from the screen following their performances in this film.
In the end, however, this is Burton's film and, even if miscast, he still gives an admirable performance that provides a much needed anchor to Shaffer's plot. Its a reminder -- after years of appearing in such claptrap as The Klansman and the Exorcist sequel, that Burton truly could be a good actor. This performance and his final turn in 1984 both suggest that, in his later years, Burton was finally ready to start acting again. Its difficult not to regret that he didn't get more chances to remind us of just how good he could be.
Top reviews from other countries
The movie’s setting of a Catholic boys’ school in idyllic countryside helps shape some of these themes, such as the hypocrisy of religious leaders and the expectations inherent within the boundaries of social status (both at the higher and lower end of the scale). This makes Absolution never less than interesting, helped by some great performances from Richard Burton (giving it his whole ‘fire and brimstone’ shtick) and the younger actors. There’s also a naturalistic turn from Billy Connolly, basically playing himself as he was at the time of the film’s production, and he also contributes a rather charming score on banjo that adds to the feel of the movie and its countryside setting.
The version of the film I watched was the Blu-ray release from Powerhouse Indicator and I can confirm that this presentation is as fine as one would expect from this particular company – there is a fair bit of filmic grain on show, especially during scenes set at night, but for me this is only to be expected from a film made in the late 70s and this grain would have been on the original print of the movie shown in cinemas at the time anyway. Extras on the disc are a tad thin, though interesting, and the booklet included as part of the release is particularly informative.
This blu-ray is a superb package, with a thick booklet containing essays and interviews which highlight the film's troubled history (Originally planned in the early seventies, it was eventually made in 1978 and barely released, and ended up with the director and writer coming into conflict.) and the disc itself is full of extras - the interview with director Anthony Page is fascinating.
A fantastic release, and a film that stands up to repeated viewings.
This is a pretty decent psychological thriller, with good perfromances, especially by the younger members of the cast,Richard Burton is also good, reverting to eye rolling mode after being rather understated for the first act of the film. Scripted by the brilliant Anthony Schaffer, the plot is a little thin for the running time allocated to it, but despite dragging a bit, its still a fascinating study into religious hypocrisy and the sancity of the confessional. There are a couple of touches that push the film into horror film territory as well.
The main negative aspect is the DVD release, with a very poor, washed out and jerky picture transfer being a real let down. This lowered my score, as it did with a previous viewer, as surely with a film only 30 years old, a better restoration job could have been done. 4 out of 5 for the film, 2 out of 5 for the release, rounded up to 3 out of 5.