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Based on the novel by Ian McEwan, "Atonement" is the story of Briony Tallis (Saoirse Ronan), a 13-year-old girl growing up in England in the year 1935. Briony is a very intense girl who is obsessed with storytelling. She witnesses a series of events between her older sister, Cecilia (Keira Knightley), and Robbie (James McAvoy), the son of the Tallis family's housekeeper. Briony things she understands what she sees, but she really doesn't. When a terrible crime is committed, Briony points the finger at the wrong man, sending an innocent person to prison and leaving Cecilia absolutely devastated.
This is an amazing story about love, truth, and justice. I have read McEwan's novel, and I was blown away by how well this story transferred to the screen. Everything in the film looked just the way I'd envisioned it when I read the book, which is a great testament to the filmmakers. I was very impressed by many of the performances in the film, especially those of the actors portraying young Briony, Cecilia, and Robbie. Ronan is a superb young actress whose portrayal of Briony is absolutely brilliant. Knightley seems to get better and better with every film she makes, and "Atonement" is no exception. She brings Cecilia to life on screen and makes her evolve from a selfish girl with a high-and-mighty attitude to a passionate woman who will do anything to be with the man she loves. The on-screen chemistry between Knightley and McAvoy is unbelievably intense (that library scene...wow!). I think Cecilia and Robbie will become one of cinema's most treasured couples, right up there with Scarlett O'Hara and Rhett Butler.Read more ›
The middle part shows us the struggles of the two separated lovers towards getting back to each other in the middle of war. Dunkerk for him, London hospitals' nursing wards during the bombing of London for her. The younger sister repents and tries to make up, but is rejected.
The final and shortest part is set in the recent past and has the former young girl explain what happened. You will find that the story makes perfect sense and is well constructed.
The book was one of McEwan's better ones. The movie is on par with the novel: I have rarely seen a better adaptation of such a novel. The script deserves an Oscar, as does the cinematography. Some of the images are outstanding, e.g. the 3 soldiers walking dejectedly and lost through France or Flanders towards uncertainty and Dunkerk, and the we see a bomber fly over them, but we see it only as its reflection in the small canal. Look at the pictures!
The cast is excellent and I disagree with those who think that KK is miscast, though her performance in Pride and Prejudice was more impressive.
The cast is uniformly superb. From the initial self-centered liar Briony Tallis (an impressive Saoirse Ronan) to the years' later sorrowfully guilty young nurse Briony (Romola Garai) to the 'epilogue' Briony of Vanessa Redgrave, the entire story is adroitly centered on this perpetrator of tragedy. But without the power of James McAvoy's falsely accused Robby Turner and Keira Knightley's tragic Cecilia Tallis the triad would not work. Even the smaller yet important roles assigned to Gina McGee, Brenda Blethyn, Jérémie Renier and countless others are played to perfection.
The cinematography by Seamus McGarvey captures not only the misty tranquility of 1935 pre-war England complete with creative use of luminous light sources as well as the raw brutality of the battlefields as England enters WW II. Dario Marianelli's music score (much of it played by pianist Jean-Yves Thibaudet!Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Exquisitely filmed adaptation of the novel. Good performances all around, with director Joe Wright's mise en scene stealing the show.Published 12 days ago by Joe Gillis
I saw this and it sticks with you - the plot/story line! Hard to follow since you think one thing has happened but not really... Read morePublished 1 month ago by Leann Gilbreath
Excellent [almost] all star cast who each gave beautiful, touching performances. Of course, the acting is topped by Vanessa Redgrave's performance at the end. Read morePublished 2 months ago by beverley johnstone
A very nicely done movie, with a hearbreaking story woven through WWII and later years. Saoirse Ronan was a very young girl when she starred in this, and she does a splendid job... Read morePublished 2 months ago by Terry E. Hardgrave
I hated this movie. I can't imagine why anyone would love it. It is beautiful visually but the story is so bleak and depressing. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Susan W.
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