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Plot: When Briony Tallis (Saoirse Ronan), thirteen-years-old and an aspiring writer, sees her older sister Cecilia (Keira Knightley) and Robbie Turner (James McAvoy) at the fountain in front of the family estate, she misinterprets what is happening, thus setting into motion a series of misunderstandings… Runtime: 123 min Release Date: 07 Sep 2007
If this doesn't win Best Picture next year it will have been robbed! (by simonparker1990)
Its very rare that a movie like Atonement comes along and leaves me completely speechless and in complete and utter awe for hours after I have seen it. You see Atonement isn't just the best movie I have seen all year, its one of the best movies I have seen in a very, very long time. And by that I include Pan's Labyrinth, yes this movie is better than my favourite movie of 2006, and I never imagined Atonement would ever come close to that level of greatness until fifteen minutes into the movie last night. Atonement is an unusual movie, in fact its fair to say that I have never seen <more>
anything quite like it. Its a rare movie that actually I adored so much that I am going to hunt down a copy of the book tomorrow just to see the comparisons. Its not an easy movie I'll be honest, if you go in expecting something light hearted and easy to digest then you will leave the cinema feeling very cheated. This is a movie that deals with very dark things at times. No matter how much I desire to write in depth about every aspect of the movie I just can't, the movies greatest triumph is the fact that its plot is so intricately woven that if you ruin one part of the storyline to anyone then the movies impact is slightly lessened. The storyline is just brilliant, but its the climax that leaves you in store for the biggest shocker, and its this shocker that leaves you reeling long after you have left the cinema. The performances here are all spectacular, I think its fair to say that the two leads, James McAvoy and Keira Knightly shall be receiving at the very least nominations for Best Actor/Best Actress. The score is beautiful, whoever came up with the idea of using a typewriter as a musical instrument deserves to be praised heavily. Its rare a score leaves me feeling moved, the score in this movie did that for me. That's yet another Oscar that this movie deserves to win. All in all Atonement is just perfection, I doubt you'll find a better movie this year or even for the next three years. In a time when Blockbusters get all the attention it is nice to see a small, but intelligent movie leave me in awe.As I previously mentioned the performances in this movie is simply amazing. Keira Knightly is an odd actress, while she proved herself in Pride and Prejudice, yes I have unfortunately seen that movie, she comes across as a wooden actress in films like Pirates of the Caribbean. Atonement really sees her at her best yet. Her character is different from what we've seen Knightly play before. Usually she goes for the spunky females, this time she seems more like a proper lady, albeit one that smokes constantly and is a bit stuck up for her own good. Keira Knightly excels in the earlier, more laid back sequences, but its in the later stuff, the more powerful stuff that we see just how talented an actress she truly is. Despite all my praise for Knightly she still plays second fiddle to James McAvoy. The former actor of Shameless and Narnia is on a roll lately. His excellent, although sadly overlooked performance in The Last King of Scotland still sticks firmly in memory. But his performance here is simple breathtaking. One sequence in particular where we see his acting talent come to light has to be the sequence in Dunkirk more on that later , no words but the performance says everything. Knightly might not be certain to win an Oscar, but McAvoy surely is! Its also refreshing to see a young actress, Saoirse Ronan, not be eye gougingly irritating, but rather a superb actress. Her character, Briony, is a vital character in the movie, and for such a young actress she delivers her performance so chillingly brilliant. Unfortunately next to this brilliant performance, Romola Garai who plays an older Briony pales in comparison. Her performance is still brilliant, but not as effective nor as memorable as the younger actress. The storyline of Atonement is where the film holds most of its impact. Essentialy the film is about a lie that Briony tells, and how it affects the lives of her, Cecilia, and most importantly of all, Robbie. That's pretty much all I can and will say of the storyline. A lot more happens over the course of the movie, and a lot of stuff that you think will happen doesn't, and things you think won't happen will. The ending is a prime example of this and to be honest I didn't see it coming. The way the movie is directed is also something note. The beautiful colours of the summer house are amazing, but the way the camera moves around the house makes it even better. But the direction will be remembered for one scene in this movie, and its in Dunkirk. I mentioned this previously for the performance in that scene, what I failed to mention is that the shot is a continuous shot that lasts five minutes as we see the chaos of Dunkirk. From horses being shot to a man hanging from a ferris wheel, the sequence is shown in all its glory. It really is a powerful moment, and probably the one scene that got me closest to tears, purely because of the singing in the background, it is shocking just how amazing this sequence truly is.Overall Atonement is a perfect movie, in actual fact its a movie with pretty much no flaws whatsoever. Superb performances, beautiful direction, a script and storyline to die for. It is unlikely any film will top this for a very long time, this is something that will go down in cinema history as being a classic, and it highly deserves it inevitable status.
My wife and I went to see the movie last night and were totally blown away by the whole experience. So brilliantly directed and acted. The movie time just flew by and we were drawn in and captivated by each dramatic moment. Never having read the book or been an expert on WW2, I had a truly open mind on what to expect and I'm not one of those who count every rivet or go looking for technical inaccuracies however small. This was truly a masterpiece of cinematography. We were treated to wonderful performances, lavish sets, shocking and thought-provoking moments and haunting themes. I had the <more>
privilege of being an extra in the Redcar, Dunkirk scene and once seen in its full glory and effect on the big screen I was simply in awe and glad to have been a part of it. Walking along Redcar beach from now on will never quite be the same again. I am quite sure that the movie will win a number of awards within the next 12 months, but that is not what really matters. Movies are there to entertain, tell a story and affect you emotionally and by God this did it in spades! If you have not seen it yet, you must!
Review by an Antonement extra at Redcar Yorkshire (by nick1-7)
I finished filming as an extra in the blockbuster movie Atonement on August 22nd 2006. I didn't realise I'd have to wait a full 12 months and 1 day to see the end result on screen.Well was it worth the wait? The answer is yes. The movie has the meticulous detail you would expect from a director of Joe Wright's calibre.Richard Brooks writing in the Sunday Times said he would be amazed if the jury finds a better film than Atonement to take first place at the Venice film festival on August 29th.He said, "I cannot think of a better British movie in years. Unlike most of our <more>
home-grown efforts, it is big scale, yet intimate when it needs to be." I would agree. The story unfolds and the audience is drawn into the plot from the start. It begins in pre-war England in a large country house with James McAvoy's character Robbie Turner being wrongly accused of rape and being imprisoned and thus separated from Keira Knightley. He is released from prison on condition he joins the army.This is a love story and more, with the back drop of the Second World War. Although it is not a war film as such, the scenes of the Dunkirk evacuation are some of the best of their type ever executed in cinema history.The scene that I was waiting to see was towards the end of the film. Joe Wright shot the Dunkirk scene in Redcar in one complete take, with no edits. It looks amazing, maybe being part of it made me slightly biased, but the human tableau that McAvoy's character walks through engulfs your senses and I can't wait to see it again. My only regret is that it wasn't longer.Apart from this, Atonement doesn't disappoint in any department, the acting is first class and the story is engaging and I certainly didn't guess the ending. I will definitely see it again, this time at the Regent Cinema in Redcar, where the building is one of the cornerstones of the great set.And finally did I see myself? Well possibly, the jury's still out, until I get my hands on the DVD next year. Enjoy it.
My brain tends to turn to mush in the presence of greatness. This makes it difficult when I want to write about something that I thought was truly great. It is so much easier to write about something that is rubbish.Oh, well. Here goes.I thought that "Atonement" was terrific. It is a really great movie. Obviously it is early days yet, and there are a lot of contenders still to appear, but "Atonement" might just be the winner-in-waiting of the Best Film Oscar in 2008. Put your money on it now."Atonement" is pure poetry on film. From the hazy, dreamy, hopeful days <more>
of 1935, a destructive act of spite, the horrors of Dunkirk with one of the most fantastic long takes I have seen in a cinema for a very long , to the aftermath and a devastating "happy" ending, it is a magnificent and moving film, beautifully directed by Joe Wright.I have never really rated Keira Knightley or understood her popularity. Except for her role in "Pride & Prejudice" for which she was perfectly cast I have tended to refer to her as Girl-Who-Would-Be-Winslet, as I thought that she had not played a single role that Kate Winslet could not have done better. Maybe I won't say that anymore. "Atonement" is easily the best thing Keira Knightley has done.Keira Knightley has had a lot of the press over here, but we should not forget to mention the pitch perfect performances from James McAvoy and Romola Garai. They share as much screen time as La Knightley and are as impressive.Wonderful film.Gushing over.
Well, from the trailers I could tell this would be an epic film before I was even able to see it. I managed to attend a gala screening of the film last night and I thought it was amazing. Despite my constant dislike to Keira Knightly, I was unable to disapprove of her acting in this film. She has improved massively since the first pirates film. The film itself has an intriguing plot line which keeps you hooked throughout. The film includes humour at the start and fascination by the end. I loved watching this film and I enjoyed the smartness of the story. The film is cleverly done with jumps <more>
in time and different perspectives of events throughout which will leave you understanding the motives of each character more. The music is composed beautifully, the orchestral tunes accompanied with the clatter that a typewriter makes creates a beautiful piece of music that fits perfectly with the film itself. I have since begun to read the book, the only thing that the film lacks is the character depth that a book can write about but a film simply can't explain. I feel that the film shows what happened but the book is able to explain a little more as to why the events occurred. Overall the film was beautiful, brilliant and emotional.
"Atonement" is structurally comparable to a three-act play, with a brief epilogue. The three central characters are Briony, the younger daughter of the wealthy Tallis family, her older sister Cecilia and Robbie Turner, Cecilia's childhood friend. Robbie is from a humble social background his mother is one of the family's servants , but academically brilliant, and Mr Tallis has paid for him to be educated through grammar school and Cambridge, where he has obtained a First. A brilliant future seemingly awaits him, in whatever profession he chooses, and he wants to pursue a <more>
career in medicine. Act I begins like an upper-class comedy of manners. The setting is the Tallis family's stately home, on a hot summer's day in 1935. Briony, a precocious thirteen-year-old with ambitions to be a writer, has written a play to be performed by herself and her three cousins, but this project proves abortive due to disagreements between them. Robbie has fallen in love with Cecilia and accidentally sends her a sexually explicit love-letter. In other circumstances this might have resulted in disgrace, but as Cecilia returns his passion the accident seems to have been a happy one. The tone of the film changes abruptly, however, when Briony's cousin Lola is sexually assaulted. Lola cannot identify her assailant, but Briony, who was a witness, falsely accuses Robbie. As a result, he is convicted of attempted rape and sent to prison. In Act II, set in 1940, Robbie, released from jail, is now a soldier with the British Army in France. He is desperately trying to reach Dunkirk ahead of the advancing Germans, kept going not by fighting spirit or patriotism, but by the hope of returning to Cecilia, who has stood by him throughout his trial and imprisonment, becoming estranged from her family as a result. In Act III we see Briony, now eighteen, as a volunteer nurse in a London hospital. It is in this Act that the theme of atonement comes to the fore. Briony is starting to have doubts about her identification of Robbie as Lola's attacker, so much so that she offers to withdraw her previous testimony and help him clear his name. Her decision to work as a nurse rather than go to university and to devote herself to caring for the wounded can also be seen as an attempt to atone for the part she played in blighting the life of an innocent man and in tearing her family apart.After "The Last King of Scotland" and "Becoming Jane", James McEvoy is the rising male star of the British cinema, and his performance here is the best yet that I have seen. Whereas Dr Garrigan in "The Last King " was morally flawed, and Lefroy in "Becoming Jane" hid his better nature beneath a roguish exterior, Robbie is unambiguously heroic. McEvoy succeeds in conveying his character's basic decency, achieving the difficult task of making him good without making him seem dull. Keira Knightley is another rising British star, and this is her second film with director Joe Wright after "Pride and Prejudice". Although she was good in the comedy "Bend it like Beckham", I think that her films with Wright are her best, suggesting that her future lies with serious drama rather than popcorn epics like "Pirates of the Caribbean" in which she seemed miscast. Her Cecilia was not only the loveliest, but also the liveliest and most spirited heroine of any film I have seen recently. Special mentions must also go to Saoirse Ronan as the young Briony and to Vanessa Redgrave who plays the now-elderly Briony in the epilogue, set in 1999. I felt, however, that Romola Garai, at 25, was too old as the eighteen-year-old Briony. This was only Wright's second feature film, and he has already established himself as an accomplished director. "Pride and Prejudice" is a good film, but "Atonement" is better. Ian McEwan's book is among the best novels of recent years, and I doubt if any cinematic treatment could capture all its nuances. One of its themes in particular, the debate between literary traditionalism and modernism, seems beyond the scope of any visual medium, and Wright and the scriptwriter Christopher Hampton wisely steer clear of it. Hampton, who has turned the book into a very good screenplay, keeps McEwan's final twist, although it is here presented in a different way, with Briony revealing the truth in an TV interview. If, however, the film does not capture all the literary nuances of the novel, Wright makes up for this with his extraordinary visual imagination, something sometimes lacking in films based upon novels. "Atonement" joins that list of films "Far from Heaven" and "Girl with a Pearl Earring" are other examples that come to mind where almost every scene seems composed like a painting. This is true not only of Act I, set in that beautiful stately home actually Stokesay Court in Shropshire , but also of Act II, where Wright can find a terrible beauty even in war, especially in the scenes of the burning town and that long shot of the Dunkirk beaches in the grey morning light. Particularly moving was the scene where the British soldiers sing "Dear Lord and Father of Mankind". The second line of John Greenleaf Whittier's hymn is, of course, "Forgive Our Foolish Ways"- a particularly apt comment on war, and perhaps on the behaviour of some of the characters.Also very good was Dario Marianelli's musical score, which appropriately for a film in which writing plays an important part incorporated the sound of typewriter keys tapping. Altogether an excellent film- I can only hope that its British origins and late summer traditionally blockbuster season release date will not prejudice the Academy against it when it comes to next year's Oscars. 9/10
Great interpretation of a wonderful novel (by chelseachelsea)
I saw a preview of this film yesterday and felt privileged to be one of the first people to see the film. It was also a pleasure to see a film before reading any other critical review or opinion. I am a great fan of Ian Mcewan and was concerned that it would not be possible to capture the subtleties and nuances of Mcewan's writing but I needn't have had any worries. The director, Joe Wright and screenplay writer Christopher Hampton have done a superb job and the complexities of the novel are superbly captured with real imagination. The story is set in three main areas, an English <more>
country house in 1935, war torn France 1940 and London 1940. The atmosphere in of all three are wonderfully captured by the director, cinematographer, costume design and score and I am sure that there are going to be some Oscar nominations for these. James McAvoy as lead man gives a tremendous performance of a restrained but passionate man. I was not as convinced by Keira Knightley's performance and am not sure that her acting has the mature edge to capture the social nuances of the times that McAvoy did so successfully. Do not see this film if you like fast paced films and rapid plot development! This is not a film for the pop video generation. If however you like character development and a plot that unravels at a pace that allows you to be immersed in the atmosphere of the film then I can highly recommend Atonement as one of the best films that I have seen this year.
Love And Death In a Cold Climate (by littlemartinarocena)
The superb Ian McEwan book translated into cold beautiful images by the startling Joe Wright and scriptwriter Christopher Hampton. The result is a series of powerful rushes and abrupt stops. A pacing that, perhaps, is a bit too self conscious for its own good doesn't help us to connect the emotional dots. I had the feeling I had lost something in the love story of the protagonists - something that didn't happen to me reading the book. By the time the "injustice" takes place I was taken by the pain of the injustice but not by Knightley and McAvoy's liaison. Their love <more>
story is left to its own devices. The beauty of the images is overwhelming and the assuredness of Joe Wright at his second feature after the, much better, "Pride and Prejudice" keeps you going. The score tends to be monotonous and irritating but in spite of all that I intend to see "Atonement" again and I would recommend it with just the above mentioned reservations.
I had seen many reviews for this film based on the popular novel of the same name, and heard about many award nominations and wins, and the critics gave it five stars, so I thought why not give it a go. Basically the wealthy and privileged Tallis family in 1935 live in a large mansion in the countryside, the main focus family members are the sisters, thirteen year old Briony Oscar, BAFTA and Golden Globe nominated Saoirse Ronan and the older Cecilia BAFTA and Golden Globe nominated Keira Knightley . Briony is an aspiring writer, and she sees an incident down below at the fountain involving <more>
Cecilia and Robbie Turner The Last King of Scotland's BAFTA and Golden Globe nominated James McAvoy , son of a family servant who wants to attend medical school, but we see their side of the story as an innocent mishap. Briony has a crush on Robbie, for some reason he writes a letter with highly sexual intentions, including the "C" word in it, instead of a true feelings one, and Briony reads it first, making her think he is a sex maniac, this is fuelled more when she spots them having sex in the library. Of course we saw the other side of this incident as well, but fuelled by jealousy and high concern Briony witnessed her cousin Lola Quincey Juno Temple being raped, but she purposely falsely says it was Robbie. Three or four years later he has spent in prison, but he is allowed to be released if he agrees to join the army for World War II which he does agree to do, and Cecilia meanwhile has become a nurse for war soldiers and victims. Eighteen year old Briony Romola Garai has also become a nurse in London supporting the war effort, by now she has realised the damage she has caused to her sister and Robbie, and wants to atone make up or apologise for her actions. She starts by finding the true rapist of Lola, it was Robbie's friend Paul Marshall Sherlock's Benedict Cumberbatch who is now engaged to the older Lola, and after their marriage she confronts this past truth. Cecilia and Robbie do reconnect before he is shipped to France, but it is not long enough and their love never truly flourished once again, as his fighting became imminent and her hospital duties got in the way too. The end of the films sees the Older Briony Vanessa Redgrave is talking to an Interviewer Anthony Minghella about her new book, Atonement, an autobiographical novel telling the truth about really happened in her past. Flashbacks reveal that Robbie did not die in action but from a fatal illness, and Cecilia died from drowning inside an underground room, but to "atone" make up for or apologise for her actions, she wrote an alternative ending for the lovers in her novel. Also starring Little Voice's Brenda Blethyn as Grace Turner, Patrick Kennedy as Leon Tallis, Julia West as Betty, Harriet Walter as Emily Tallis and Daniel Mays as Tommy Nettle. Knightley and McAvoy give fantastic performances as the lovers that never truly flourish to the extent you want, young Ronan gives a brilliant performance with her time on screen, the war scenes are reasonable, but of course the tragic love story is the most watchable part, a splendid period romantic drama. It won the Oscar for Best Music for Dario Marianelli, and it was nominated for Best Art Direction, Best Cinematography, Best Costume Design, Best Writing, Screenplay Based on Material Previously Produced or Published and Best Motion Picture of the Year, it won the BAFTAs for Best British Film and Best Production Design, and it was nominated for Best Cinematography, Best Costume Design, Best Director for Joe Wright Pride & Prejudice - 2005 , Best Editing, Best Make Up & Hair, Best Music, Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Sound and Best Film, and it won the Golden Globes for Best Motion Picture - Drama and Best Original Score, and it was nominated for Best Director and Best Screenplay. Keira Knightley was number 9 on The 50 Greatest British Actresses. Very good!