Thursday, 13 September 2007


A very unique film indeed…

It is very hard for me to review Atonement, in the normal sense as it is a fairly strange film. From a purely aesthetic point of view, the film is a marvel to behold, the cinematography, the direction, the acting, the music and sound design are all nigh on perfect, even how it tells the story is brilliant and interesting.

But (and this is a J-Lo sized but) the story itself isn’t really that in-depth and my biggest problem is the fact that the main driving force of the plot (most definitely the 2nd half) is based on a lie told by a 13 year old girl, a little girl named Bryony. A lie which doesn’t need to be told and for some reason should never have been told in the first place. This lie then proceeds to ruin (and end) the lives of the two main characters, the only two characters you actually like and feel for - Robbie (James McAvoy) and Cecillia (Kiera Knightly).

What the film then tries to do is make you feel sorry and empathise with this stupid 13 year old girl who caused all this hurt in the first place! It doesn’t succeed.

You see, to begin with the lie is slightly understandable in the fact that Bryony has mistakenly confused Robbie to be a sex maniac, due to an unfortunate incident, involving a letter being wrongly sent filled with dirty writings about Cecillia (hey, it happens to the best of us, get over it).

Therefore when the prudish Bryony witnesses her cousin being raped by (what appears to be) a man she doesn’t clearly see, she assumes it was Robbie. Despite the fact you already begin to dislike her for getting an innocent man sent to jail, at this moment it is slightly understandable based on her age and situation, but when at the end of the film it is revealed that she saw the rapist as clear as day. The film falls apart, and you realise that all the sorrow you have just watched was all based on some stupid little girl telling a lie for absolutely no reason! And therefore there is no way in hell I ‘m going to feel sorry for her. She just caused the deaths of two interesting and likeable characters by being a nosey stuck-up twerp (best posh insult I could think of)!

Despite this rather large plot hole, everything else in the film – from production design and special effects to the acting is so well done that I can’t really say it’s a bad film, because it’s not, it’s bloody good.

The standout being a shot that lasts nearly five minutes (with no cuts) when Robbie and his two buddies arrive at Dunkirk. I really couldn’t say if there is any CGI used as everything looks real, but in which case they must have had thousands of extras and used a lot of the budget on this one set-up.

I also particularly love how the first half is predominantly told in a fairy like state, with loads of bold vibrant colours filling the screen, when everyone is happy. Then how the second half (when the mood shift considerably) is shown through much more washed out colours.

It’s hard to give this a final score, because despite how good everything is and how well produced it is, the fact that this stupid lie ruined the ending and could have made a lot of what happened easily avoidable, it really knocks it from getting top marks for me.

But it’s bound to win loads of Oscars, because they love this kind of stuff!


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