Film Review: Atonement

17 Sep

Plot: In 1935, 13-year-old fledgling writer Briony Tallis (Saoirse Ronan) and her family live a life of wealth and privilege in their enormous mansion. On the warmest day of the year, the country estate takes on an unsettling hothouse atmosphere, stoking Briony’s vivid imagination. Robbie Turner (James McAvoy), the educated son of the family’s housekeeper, carries a torch for Briony’s headstrong older sister Cecilia (Keira Knightley). Cecilia, he hopes, has comparable feelings; all it will take is one spark for this relationship to combust. When it does, Briony – who has a crush on Robbie – is compelled to interfere, going so far as accusing Robbie of a crime he did not commit. Cecilia and Robbie declare their love for each other, but he is arrested – and with Briony bearing false witness, the course of three lives is changed forever. Briony continues to seek forgiveness for her childhood misdeed. Through a terrible and courageous act of imagination, she finds the path to her uncertain atonement, and to an understanding of the power of enduring love.

Not having read the acclaimed novel by Ian McEwan, I went in with no expectations whatsoever only to come out quite entertained.

Directed by Joe Wright, the same guy who did the latest film version of Pride and Prejudice which also starred Knightley, this film is a beautiful tapestry of colors, sights and superb performances mainly from McAvoy who in my opinion owned this film. Every scene he was in was a delight, and his passion speaks volumes in one of the pivotal points of the film. He is truly one of the finest actors of his generation. Knightley didn’t do too bad but then I felt she was more of a trophy actress here, but as star-crossed lovers Robbie and Cecilia, McAvoy and Knightley ignites the screen with their chemistry that you are truly drawn for their love that was lost but later found. Both the actresses who played Briony, Saoirse Ronan and Romola Garai are the talents to look out for. Vanessa Redgrave playing an elderly Briony was just a perfect casting coup.

Atonement: 3/5 

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2 Responses to “Film Review: Atonement”

  1. eddie February 11, 2008 at 2:01 pm #

    Just 3 out of 5?

  2. Simone February 11, 2008 at 2:16 pm #

    It’s good but not THAT good. And highly overrated.

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