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“Atonement is an adaptation of Ian McEwan's novel of...”


written by reviewkitten on 25/08/2010

Atonement is an adaptation of Ian McEwan's novel of the same name. Set before the outbreak of World War II, the story follows the blossoming love between Knightly and MacAvoy that is cut short by the jealous accusation of Knightly's younger sister. The following narrative of two star crossed lovers being separated by the war and their struggle to survive is sweetly told with heart breaking moments on both sides as the war takes its toll.

The characters are well thought out and acted well by the cast and the photography and costumes bring the period setting to life.

The ending is sad and somehow inevitable so prepare to have a few tissues handy. Atonement is a great love story set against the savage backdrop of War; I found it the perfect film to curl up with some chocolate on a lazy afternoon.

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“I've had Atonement on DVD for a while now, and finally...”


written by Taylott on 20/10/2009

I've had Atonement on DVD for a while now, and finally got round to watching it. I was a bit sceptical at first as this isn't typical my kind of film, but I stuck it on anyway.

I have to say I'm glad i did. I thoroughly enjoyed this movie. To be honest i had no idea what it was about, and if i had read the back of the DVD box first i would have probably not bothered.

The actors were fantastic telling a story of forbidden love and false accusations that spanned many years. The scenes were brilliantly filmed, especially the mammoth beach scene showing the WW2 survivors.

There is a little twist towards the end which makes you go "ohhhh". I'd really recommend watching this movie, especially on a cold Sunday afternoon, straight after a nice roast dinner!

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“Don't get me wrong, Atonement is a good film. It tells...”


written by degbert on 31/03/2008

Don't get me wrong, Atonement is a good film. It tells a very sad tale of deceit and forbidden love (on several levels) against a backdrop of Britain's entry into war in the 30's.

What starts off as a childhood infatuation (though we annoyingly only learn of this in flashback), gets horribly out of control and the lives of the two leads, Cecilia played by Knightly, and Robbie played by James MacAvoy, are thrown into disarray.

Events jump around and there's lots of flashbacks and jump-aheads and while there's some merit in some of this, you find yourself wondering how much simpler the film might be if told sequentially. I'm really not sure what value this adds.

Worse than that, plaudits are offered by reviewers and media alike for the strong leading performances. I'm afraid I have to take issue with that. For starters, MacAvoy doesn't get to do much at all until 1940 onwards whereupon he's on a horrible downward spiral. The country mansion arrangement has him playing a key role, but doing so silently, with very little offered to him in terms of dialogue. So he looks frustrated, serious, dead-pan and generally quite ordinary ... what little spark is presented through moments or events rather than what poor old Robbie has been allowed to say.

Meanwhile, more or less the entirety of time attached to Knightley is with her looking impossibly well-dressed, but once again demonstrating her wealth of acting talent by being allowed to portray such a vast array of emotion ranging from "somewhat purturbed" to "slightly disquiet". I'm afraid even the sex scene is unconvincing. What the film fails to do is paint this person as a real human being -- Cecilia is always perfect in every way, in her clothing, her make up, her demeanour. Her green dress ("that dress", according to all the media hype) reminded me of watching The Cook, The Thief, His Wife and Her Lover where Greenaway permitted Gaultier to provide scene-stealing wardrobe. It added nothing to the film except as a talking point, which I think for Greenaway is fine, but for something more substantial here? What are we to think of her through Robbie's fall from grace? One snatched moment in a cafe 5 years later is not, I'm afraid, enough to convince me that any of the characters were really that bothered about what happened - and you therefore don't really care either.

The later life of Briony (in hospital) helps join the dots on the story but I'm afraid there's not enough pace by this stage (and I think by this stage you are sensing the inevitable outcome) nor anything really powerful in her admission of guilt. That said the performances of the supporting cast (not least Blethyn and Redgrave - predictably peerless) are fine what what scraps they are given.

That's the problem in the main with this film; you don't really care what happens to anyone. And that's why I just don't think its a great film, because it just isn't convincing enough. I would make an exception for MacAvoy's work in the Dunkirk scene, which is first-rate, and highly plausible, well-acted, well photographed, easily the best part of the movie.

I'm going to run an acid test past you now, which is ask you how you felt for both Scott-Thomas and Fiennes at the conclusion of the English Patient? Whatever you felt, you felt something, you had an emotional reaction, because of a connection with those people. They had affected you, and you were touched by them. This just didn't happen for me with Atonement, so while its not a bad film from the perspective of story, directorship, scenery, etc, the characterizations just aren't strong enough to make this a classic.

Worth a view though, even if you find yourself comparing this to genuine classics unfavourably.

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