Atonement (2007) (UK/France)

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Atonement (2007) (UK/France)

Postby hengcs » Wed Jan 23, 2008 3:58 pm



Director: Joe Wright
Cast: James McAvoy, Keira Knightley, Saoirse Ronan

Synopsis
Based on the novel by Ian McEwan, it tells the story of how an accusation by Briony changes the lives of a potential couple, Cecilia and Robbie. As indicated by the title, can she atone for what she has done?!

My Thoughts

* The entire discussion may contain spoilers *

-- I can understand why some people do not like the film ... but maybe I can help shed some light as to why the film is worth watching ...

(i) I particularly like the film for its beginning (until the apprehension of Robbie) and its ending (the interview with old Briony) ... However, somewhere in the middle, I thought it does not grip as much in terms of story telling, but rather visually in portraying the war ...

In particular, I thought this was the BEST LINE in the entire film (I am not sure how many people notice or recall this line at the end) ... during the interview ... * PLOT TWIST SPOILER * old Briony finally admitted that none of those could have happened because the two of them had died before she could atone for her deeds ... and since the two could not be together in reality, she has decided to let them be together in her novel ... old Briony said, "I GAVE THEM HAPPINESS!" ... WOW ...
... I really thought that this line is so PUNCHING, PUNNING, PARADOXICAL ... stirring all the emotions needed for the audience to decide upon all the events that have happened ...

(ii) The style in story telling (i.e., starting from a point of time that was over) may be novel to some audience, but i do recall seeing it in several other films ... (maybe you can help me recall ... hee hee) ... but this does NOT discredit its appropriateness ...
... (a) in line with the theme, it challenges us to think ... IF TIME WERE TO REWIND, CAN WE UNDO THE PAST? ... unfortunately, time does not really go back ...
... (b) we thought we knew what happened, but hey ... let's go through it AGAIN ... maybe SEEING IS NOT BELIEVING (e.g., the fountain scene) ... maybe HEARING IS NOT BELIEVING (e.g., police listening Briony's testimony), etc ...
... (c) by doing so, it also allows the director to depict different perspectives of the various characters ...

(iii) The original story?! or the director?! or simply the film is GREAT at dropping hints ...
e.g., the film opens with a script/play ... it prepares the audience of MANY GRAY/UNCLEAR lines between reality and fantasy/imagination ...
... (a) such as Briony and what she saw,
... (b) such as Robbie and what he desired,
... (c) such as Lola and her wanting to be an adult (as for her relationship, if any, watch out for the scene where the man hands the chocolate bar, the camera makes it diffcult to tell whether their hands "touched", and if they did, was it still a "rape"),
... (d) such as old Briony and her novel ... etc ... there are numerous to list ...

(iv) the film is also very philosphical about life ... and its complex relationship among people ...
... I guess you can infer too ... so I shant type more ...

(v) Technically ...
... the cinematography is commendable ...
... the soundtrack, esp. the beginning with all the typewriter sound, keeps the pace going ...
... in terms of cast, the young Briony kind of stole the show ... the two main protagonists were great too ...

Conclusion
Recommended ... but because I have yet to watch ALL 5 nominated films ... I withhold my assessment of which film I think is more deserving of the Best Film in 2007 ...
hengcs
 


Re: Atonement (2007) (UK/France)

Postby hengcs » Fri Jan 25, 2008 11:09 am

No one has watched?
hengcs
 

Re: Atonement (2007) (UK/France)

Postby justindeimen » Fri Jan 25, 2008 11:31 am

Well, I have. But I think you already know my thoughts on this film
justindeimen
 

Re: Atonement (2007) (UK/France)

Postby wpqx » Sat Jan 26, 2008 12:53 am

Lord love a double feature. I've been prone to pay for one film wait until its over and sneak in another screen in my local multiplex for awhile now. I can't afford movie tickets (the matinee was $7) so whenever possible I try and double my money. The ironic thing is that nearly every time I do this it is the second film, the one I didn't pay for, that's the better. Atonement was the second feature on this day, which directly followed Paul Thomas Anderson's There Will Be Blood. There was a great deal to commend about the film. I enjoyed Pride and Prejudice immensely so my expectations were certainly high for this one. James McAvoy's performance was certainly a highlight of the film and I can certainly see him emerging as an immense talent in the coming years, especially after an equally impressive turn in last year's Last King of Scotland. As a film I'd say this is a remarkably complete work. I loved how the film showed things from repeating sides, and although not entirely original, is still fairly uncommon. We see things as Briony sees them, and then as they really happened, but this is done only a few times. The narrative does jumble a bit during the war, but never to a point where we can't follow what's going on. The music and soundtrack which makes great use of the percussive sound of typewriters is also top notch. I expected great cinematography considering how well photographed Wright's last film was. For a brief moment while at Dunkirk I thought I had stepped into Children of Men with that insanely elaborate tracking shot. As much as I may have appreciated it, somehow a long steadicam tracking shot amidst war is becoming a minor cliche. Certainly the most impressive cliche in film, but a cliche none the less. I'm not sure about the dialogue. Briony may be a writer but she talks like few 13 year olds I ever met, even the smart ones. The film good as it is never ceases to feel like a literary adaptation. Somehow in Pride and Prejudice I was able to look beyond the world of the book and feel that this could be a contemporary story. Here however the dialogue and structure consistently call attention to the fact that this was based on a book. Based on how few films I've seen from the past year, I'm not qualified to list this as one of the very best, but it will be in my mind whenever I do get around to making my best of '07 list.

*This film was shown in one of the smaller screens in the multiplex and as such I think they did absolutely nothing to adjust the aspect ratio. Not only did the projection bleed into the sides of the frame, but also the top, unfortunately the high schoolers running the projectors really don't pay too much attention to aspect ratios.
wpqx
 

Re: Atonement (2007) (UK/France)

Postby hengcs » Mon Jan 28, 2008 4:19 am

wpqx wrote: The narrative does jumble a bit during the war, but never to a point where we can't follow what's going on. ...
The music and soundtrack which makes great use of the percussive sound of typewriters is also top notch. ...
I'm not sure about the dialogue. Briony may be a writer but she talks like few 13 year olds I ever met, even the smart ones. ...
I'm not qualified to list this as one of the very best, but it will be in my mind whenever I do get around to making my best of '07 list.

I think we concur ...
hengcs
 

Re: Atonement (2007) (UK/France)

Postby wpqx » Mon Jan 28, 2008 4:27 am

Well the young girl who played the 13 year old Briony certainly impressed a few people she picked up the Oscar nomination.
wpqx
 

Re: Atonement (2007) (UK/France)

Postby tzarine » Thu May 15, 2008 8:49 pm

I like James Mcavoy best as Mr. Tumnus.

Not as much in Last King of Scotland.

KK's anorexia frightens me. I find her really hard to look at. Totally agree about Briony's precociousness.
tzarine
 

Re: Atonement (2007) (UK/France)

Postby wpqx » Fri May 16, 2008 3:46 am

Ironically I have no problem looking at Knightley, and I thought Macavoy was more entertaining than Forest Whitaker in Last King of Scotland, but big boisterous roles generally don't impress me too much.
wpqx
 

Re: Atonement (2007) (UK/France)

Postby tzarine » Fri May 16, 2008 11:29 pm

I would rather look at Penelope Cruz, Thandie Newton or Gael Garcia Bernal.
tzarine
 

Re: Atonement (2007) (UK/France)

Postby chard09 » Wed Jul 02, 2008 3:15 am

the film actually fares well but in looms in comparison to mcewan's novel. i like what wright did with the ending, though because perhaps he's thinking he cannot surpass what mcewan did with its closure so he found another way to show it.
chard09
 


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