Friday, March 2, 2012


There aren't too many ways to interpret Joe Wright's Atonement. The more common one is that it's about an undying love torn apart by a lie. I personally view it as a tale of a woman and the weight of the guilt she carries.

The woman is Briony Tallis, played in different stages of her life by Saoirse Ronan, Romala Garai and Vanessa Redgrave. When she was a girl, she witnessed a number of events that would change the course of everything she knows, all related somewhat to her older sister Cecilia (Keira Knightley) and Robbie (James McAvoy), the gardener.

Is there a motive to what Briony did at an age when she was just learning about the world around her? At some point in the film, she admits she once had a crush on Robbie. Could jealousy be the motive? After all, she did catch Cecilia and Robbie in a compromising position. Perhaps she thought if she couldn't have Robbie, no one could.

But the way she acts implies she never understood the feelings between Cecilia and Robbie. She also admits she was never in love. Yet does she understand it? Maybe it's one of those things she comprehended better as she got older, but no one knows except for her.

Atonement is a very well-crafted film, but it focuses too much on Cecilia and Robbie. There isn't enough on Briony, whom I clearly found the more compelling of the three. The cinematography and score are gorgeous, picking up for the dull spots. All in all, a very good film.

My Rating: ****1/2


  1. I remember so many people talking about this when it came out , but I never got around to seeing it. I'll definitely check it out one day though :) Great write up :)

  2. A four and a half is allowable :)

    See, write about Joe Wright and I turn up (I'm easy).

    The film is an interesting one to consider in terms of who has the narrative pull. I'm curious to know which of the Briony's did you appreciate more? I think the entire cast is fantastic, but I'm particularly moved by Romola Garai's middle Briony (so fantastic int that hospital scene with the French solider). And, yup, the photography and score are ace.

  3. I enjoyed this film. Thought it was well written and the cinematography blew me away. The characters were pretty believable, not sure how it matched up next to the book.

  4. Atonement is one of my favorite films, and it didn't annoy me that it focused a lot on Robbie and Cecilia, I found every single scene compelling! The soundtrack is excellent too.


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