"...the story can resume."

I don't know what I was expecting from this film. I guess it's in a guy like me's nature to retract against films like Pride and Prejudice. Coming from the same director this is exactly what I thought it would be. An epic story of love and woe? Come on we've seen those war torn stories time and time again.

It has taken me over a month now to muster up the energy to see Atonement and the result of my experience surprises even myself. I absolutely loved it.

Filmed and told through unconventional methods and beautiful cinematography. One scene lasts about five minutes in length without a single cut. Rivaling that of Touch of Evil and Children of Men the camera travels through a war torn beach as James McAvoy stumbles past 300,000 British troops, executed horses, bar fights, ship wrecks, band stands, up hills, over fences, and into a pub. It's definitely an amazing shot that only took 5 takes to accomplish. When you see the film you know that's a huge accomplishment for director Joe Wright.

I guess another aspect that caught me off guard was the complexity of how the story was told. I won't give anything away but there is a refreshing little twist at the end. Not a blow your face off twist but just one of those " that's deep" twists.

I enjoyed every frame that carried James McAvoy. Truly an amazing performance. You can't help but love the guy. Keira was good too but only through the shadow that is James. Her stoic beauty and quick pace does justice to the style and speed of the period film. As far as acting goes lets give a nod to all three women, young and old, who played Briony. Probably one of the better age transformations between actors I've ever really seen. I would say the youngest girl did the best job though.

Last but not least the score was brilliant. Dario Marianelli creates music within elements of the scene. For example a typewriter's pounding keys was added into the music. In one scene a women erupts from the darkness beating a car with her umbrella. The pounding on the car is in perfect sinc with the music. On the extremely long take discussed above the camera passes through a band stand and the random hymn the soldiers are singing matches perfectly with the score. Beautiful.

I loved Atonement. Although it would not be my preferred choice I have no beef with it getting handed a golden guy.
Reviewed by: shea
4 Comment(s)
I agree with just about everything. Saw it for the first time tonight (review up on the site)... though I didn't find the ending as deep or anything as you did.
Shea said...
cool I guess I was reading too much into the ending but it definitely struck a chord with me. Glad you liked it man.
* (asterisk) ( said...
I may not always agree with your comic-book-movie ratings, Shea (you're a fanboy for those just like I am for David Lynch!), but we are in agreement here. Very good movie. I, however, anticipated most of the supposed twists, even to a lesser extent the one I think you're referring to. But that didn't matter. Definitely way better than I had anticipated, and nice to see the late Anthony Minghella in there at the end too.
Red said...
I liked this quite a lot, surprisingly. While I have nothing against period films per se, I feared that Keira Knightley's wooden acting would ruin it, but in fact her stiffness went with the character's haughtiness, so it kinda worked.

I wanted to believe that what was happening was real, even though things didn't look too good on that beach in Normandy. But I had hope until the end because the timeline was not linear and I felt there was a small chance that there might be a happy (or at least, happier) ending.

Loved the dual perspective of events. Did you use to watch Boomtown, perchance? The first series was kinda like that, with events seen from different perspectives and characters.