Atonement (2007)

Reid, 12. January 2008, 22:06

Dir. Joe Wright
130 minutes

I think most idiots would enjoy the film (6 or higher).

The movie is an adaptation of Ian McEwan’s novel of the same title. I have a hard time judging the film independently of the novel, so I guess most of the review will refer back to the book. First of all, the film is a faithful adapation of the novel, and Wright does well at tightening up the book by cutting away unimportant elements of the novel (one of the head servants as one example).

Having said that, this is not a book that I would have been a great candidate for a film adaptation. So many of the good parts of the story deal with internal workings of the characters–Briony’s insights about writing; the description of the library scene (boring and disappoiting in the film); the mental “tendrils” of Mrs. Tallis. I could go on.

But let me try and judge the film independently of novel. I don’t know if Robbie and Cee’s relationship would really engage viewers, although there are some nice moments, specifically the one in the cafe. (McAvoy is good in this; he reminds me of a young Russell Crowe, both in terms of his looks and his acting ability.) If the viewer is not really into the relationship, than enjoying the film is pretty difficult.

On a technical side, there is one long single take shot that reminded me of the one in Children of Men, although maybe not as difficult. It’s impressive, but a part of me feels like it was a little wasted. The shot sets up the situation of the beach at Dunkirk–a scene even in the novel which I didn’t think was that crucial to the story.

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