2008-05-12 08:07
What it's about:

Budding writer Briony Tallis is as an over-imaginative 13-year-old whose accusations change the course of two lives forever.

What we thought of it:

Some stories should never leap from page to stage. Atonement is a powerful and unforgettable best selling novel by Ian McEwan and it's understandable why it's been adapted for the silver screen. The tragic drama slash almost-romance has flawless cinematography, costumes and performances by Saoirse Ronan (who plays Briony) and James McAvoy (the falsely accused Robbie). You don't need to have read the book to understand or enjoy the film, but it'll have a more powerful effect on you if you did, provided your expectations aren't too high.

Keira Knightley – who plays Cecilia Tallis, Briony's sister – seems to have become the poster girl for epic films since her roles in the period pieces such as Pride and Prejudice, also directed by Joe Wright. Unfortunately this time around her performance isn't too convincing, probably because we're used to Miss Knightley as a lead and the focus of Atonement really is on Ronan's character. It is after all about Briony's atonement.

One immaculately shot and very disturbing scene is that involving McAvoy as a soldier during the Dunkirk evacuations of the 1940s. The uncomfortably long scene makes you itch for the climax, which is seeing 18-year-old Briony (Ramola Garai) realise the damage she's caused, followed by the sacrifice she makes to punish herself and cleanse herself of her wrongdoing. The highlight is the final scene where a 70-year-old Briony (Vanessa Redgrave) pieces everything together as the film does a complete somersault.

Yes, it won the Golden Globe for Best Drama, but it really isn't the movie of the year. Rather read the book.

- Gugulethu Mkhabela
An ordinary, epic film based on an extraordinary book about guilt, redemption and eternal love.

Jimmy 2008/02/01 11:21 PM
GIVE CREDIT WHERE IT'S DUE Your critic's review of "Atonement" is rather suspiciously along the same dissenting lines as that of A.O. Scott, in the New York Times. The book may have been superior to the film, but this is still a wonderfully literate entertainment, superbly directed by Joe Wright, of "Pride And Prejudice" fame, and impeccably performed by everyone concerned. Yes, the Dunkirk beach scene is self-indulgent, though masterfully executed, but its surreal quality fits in perfectly with the state of mind of the James McAvoy character, at that moment. It's not a date film and it's hardly a chic flick, but don't miss it if you value beautifully crafted cinema, with interestingly written dialogue and acting to savour (including the performance of the radiant Kiera Knightley, let it be said). Three stars out of five? Utter rot!!
Avril 2008/02/08 7:04 AM
Kept to the book. Without a doubt this gets a 5 star rating from me.I read and loved the book and wasn't disappointed at all with the way they filmed the movie.The acting,cinematography, costumes and music were all outstanding.
Louise 2008/02/09 12:29 PM
Atonement Maybe your reviewer did not understand the Movie too well or based his/her review on something that they read? Both Avril and Jimmy's reviews are far better. This is indeed a superb movie and deserves at least four and a half stars.
Mieder 2008/02/14 1:33 PM
NOT SOOO BAD Besides the storyline you don't have to be an expert to see that this movie is an example of excellent cinematography in acting, costumes and music. I was a bit dissappointed with the story, but that is because I like a 'happily ever after' ending. All in all I'll give it four stars.
Goda 2008/02/16 1:36 PM
Give blame where its due too, Jimmy I read the new york times review because of what you said - it's very different - the only thing their reviewer and's are really united on is that the film is disappointing compared to the book. But all this mud-slinging has inspired me to see the movie! You'd almost point to a conspiracy. BTW I think you can submit reviews to this site and I would like to read a longer version of yours. PS: don't be mean about chick flicks - there's nothing like a very good one, and there are far, far too many "man flicks" out there already.
Lee 2008/02/21 4:40 PM
Atonement Atonement was the novel we focused on & read again & again (about five times) for Matric English. It is an awesome novel, beautifully written, although some chapters were painfully long & had no real climax. I have not seen the movie, yet! ... but I think that there should be a law put into place which states that no novel should be converted into a movie because the big-screen version is always disappointing. Avid Reader!
Elizabeth 2008/02/22 1:30 PM
Good Movie I have to agree with Louise, this is a good movie and it seems that the critic, Gugulethu Mkhabela, did not understand it? At least 4 stars. Maybe we should stay away from movie reviews on 24!
Martin 2008/03/10 4:30 PM
and the verdict is... My view: Gugulethu is about right in his conclusions. I thought the acting good-ish but I found the overall composition and feel to be predictable and cliched. I happen to be English and I tire of these potrayals of english country life as endlessly languid and emotionally oppressed. I nearly gave up on this film several times but I was glad I didn't when it was finally saved by the stunning final talking head scene. It was an antonement for the 2nd rate quality of the rest of the film. Definitely a film to be viewed on the aeroplane when there's nothing better to do.
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