Movie Review: Atonement (2007)

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How one simple lie can change the entire course of someone’s life… quite astonishing, really.

Ladies and gentlemen… “Atonement”.

Briony Tallis (Saoirse Ronan) is a young, upper-class girl who aspires to become a writer. However her life kind of takes a turn for the not very good when she accuses Robbie (James McAvoy), her older sister’s (Keira Knightley) lover of doing something he actually didn’t do. This of course changes everyone’s lives in a pretty major way. I have to say that the basic story is one I find really interesting. Like I said in the intro, how one lie can change everything is simply astonishing. I also like that they present certain events in the story from multiple perspectives. And the ending… I applaud it for being so ballsy, it’s a really good ending.

Where the story was surprisingly interesting, the character department is where this thing kind of, sort of falters a bit. None of them every really develop, they all just kind of never learn anything or change… like a person would. Sure, you get some mild development from Briony’s part, but that is still very minimal. The acting though is pretty good. Saoirse Ronan is great as young Briony, giving a really good performance (for her age, at least). Keira Knightley is really good as well even though I still prefer her in “Pirates of the Caribbean”. James McAvoy is terrific in the movie, giving a nuanced and layered performance. Here is what is interesting though: the acting is really good, but Knightley and McAvoy who are supposed to play passionate lovers in the movie, mind you, don’t really have that good’a chemistry. I never really believed them to be the lovers that they were supposed to be. At least the acting was good I guess, even though the characters were uninteresting and the chemistry didn’t really exist.

The score for the movie was something interesting to listen to during the movie. It was composed by Dario Marianelli together with pianist Jean-Yves Thibaudet. It is for the most part your typical period-drama music, but then they added an interesting twist to it… a typewriter. I know it sounds crazy, but trust me… there is a god damn typewriter in the soundtrack. I believe it goes together with Briony being a bit of a writer, so they use the typewriter to create some interesting sounds to go together with the rest of the score. And while it can get a bit distracting from time to time, overall it does kind of work.

This movie is pretty well directed. Everything looks pretty nice, evne if they use a lot of different camera techniques throughout the first act of the movie. Seriously, I noticed a whole bunch of different styles being done over the first third of the movie. But that’s okay, because overall it is a well directed movie. Especially a scene during the second half that has a single-take shot that is about five minutes long… I actually sat in the classroom (we watched it during literature class) and whispered to myself “This shot ist still going on, isn’t it? This hasn’t been interrupted once… holy shit”. And before we go any further, I will say it… this movie is total fucking Oscar-bait. It has all the signs of it, there is no denying it… Anywho… good job with the directing, Joe Wright.

This movie has been very well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has an 83% positive rating and a “Fresh” certification. On Metacritic it has a score of 85/100. Roger Ebert gave it 4/4 stars. And on imdb.com it has a score of 7,8/10. The movie won an 1 Oscar in the category of Best Original Score. It also got an additional 6 nomainations in the categories of Best Picture, Best Supporting Actress (Ronan), Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Cinematography, Best Art Direction and Best Costume Design.

“Atonement” is a bit of an interesting thing. It has a good story, not very good (but at least well acted) characters, an interesting original score, good directing and an ending that made me appreciate it a bit more than if it would’ve been different. Time for my final score. *Cough*. My final score for “Atonement” is an 8,22/10. While I think it is pretty overrated, I do still think it’s worth a rental.
Rent it

“Atonement” is now reviewed.

Oh, I’m going to get some shit for this… Bring it on.

 

2 thoughts on “Movie Review: Atonement (2007)

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