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Atonement

April 21, 2010

Atonement

Atonement

This is one of my favorite romances of all time, I’d argue that Casablanca is a romance more then a drama or anything else, so that would go as number one, but Joe Wright has made a brilliant romance.  This story hast he same beauty in the style that his previous work, Pride and Prejudice did and he works with some of the same talent again getting more brilliant performances.

The story is that of love and betrayal going through several different time periods.  It starts in the English countryside where Cecilia Tallis is part of the upper class living in her family estate along with her younger sister Briony.  Both of them have feelings for one of the hands on the estate, Robbie Turner, but with Briony being only 13 and Cecilia and Robbie being older, Briony has no chance.  One evening, before a dinner party, Briony comes across Cecilia and Robbie in each others arms and Briony, in a fit of jealousy, lies and accuses Robbie of committing a crime that happens, but one that he did not commit.   With Brionys standing because of her family, even though she is only 13 and Robbie being nothing more the help, the police arrest Robbie and he is put into prison for four years.  He is granted an early release if he joins the British armed forces and he does to become part of the troops who go to France to halt the Nazi advances.  I fear that is as far as I’m going to reveal the plot as there is a nice twist in the film that is very touching and you will need to see it for yourself.  But based off of a novel by Ian McEwan, this is a brilliantly told story.

The acting in this film is extremely well done.  Keira Knightley takes on the role of Cecilia, working for a second time with Joe Wright, and she gives a very good performance.  She has a very proper feel about the way she acts the role which works wonderfully with the type of life that she grew up with.  Briony is played by multiple actresses, due to jumps in the time line, but the best performance of her is definitely be Saoirse Ronan.  Ronan was actually nominated for a supporting actress role in this film and while none of her performances since this role have lived up to this standard, she is a very solid up and coming actress.  Romola Garai takes on the role of an 18 year old Briony, but her performance doesn’t match up to that of the younger Ronan.  It is still a solid performance and believable as an older Briony, but the talent level shown off by the two isn’t the same.  James McAvoy takes on the role of Robbie Turner and gives another solid performance.  In comparison to the performance of Ronan and Knightley, McAvoy isn’t as strong, but he doesn’t falter compared to them either.  The rest of the performances are solid, but the film really is locked onto these three characters as the story does completely revolve around them.

Visually this is a stunning film.  Joe Wright shows off the English countryside again in this film and gets it to come to life.  Even in his grand sweeping shots there is beauty that works along side the beauty of the story.  The music in this film is phenomenally done as well.  Dario Marianelli wrote the original score for this film, and it is simply beautiful complimenting every scene as it goes and displaying the wide range of emotion shown throughout this film.  Joe Wright gets everything to work together in this film.

This is a film that I highly recommend.  Some might say, it is a romance and therefore more of a film for chicks,and some macho guys will definitely not appreciate it as much, but that is there loss.  This film is wonderfully crafted telling a great story.  It works visually and the acting is extremely good as well.  This film is an example of how everything can work together and a masterpiece can be created.

Entertainment Grade: B (why so low, because it isn’t an easy film to watch all the time, it is well made and will keep your attention, but is a very serious film)

Critical Grade: A

Overall Grade: A

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