Atonement (2007)

Atonement (2007)

GENRESDrama,Mystery,Romance,War
LANGEnglish,French
ACTOR
Keira KnightleyJames McAvoyBrenda BlethynSaoirse Ronan
DIRECTOR
Joe Wright

SYNOPSICS

Atonement (2007) is a English,French movie. Joe Wright has directed this movie. Keira Knightley,James McAvoy,Brenda Blethyn,Saoirse Ronan are the starring of this movie. It was released in 2007. Atonement (2007) is considered one of the best Drama,Mystery,Romance,War movie in India and around the world.

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 and a childish pique that will have lasting repercussions for all of them. Robbie is the son of a family servant toward whom the family has always been kind. They paid for his time at Cambridge and now he plans on going to medical school. After the fountain incident, Briony reads a letter intended for Cecilia and concludes that Robbie is a deviant. When her cousin Lola (Juno Temple) is raped, she tells the Police that it was Robbie she saw committing the deed.

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Atonement (2007) Reviews

  • Forgive Our Foolish Ways

    JamesHitchcock2007-09-21

    "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 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 KingÂ…" 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

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  • Beautiful, sad, and McAvoy excels as usual.

    PizzicatoFishCrouch2007-08-26

    13-year-old Briony Tallis is a girl with a huge imagination who loves to write. The film starts at her completion of a play, "The Trials of Arabella", a morality tale on love and the dangers of being too hasty with one's emotions. From her opening line in the prologue, various multisyllabic words that I didn't understand were employed, and the audience giggles at her pretension: evidently, this is a girl whose world is shaped with words, regardless of whether or not she understands them. Witnessing her sister Cecilia dive into a pool as their housekeeper's son Robbie watches after her, Briony pictures as scene she has no understanding of, and, by the end of the day, she will have changed lives for the worse, and she will spend the rest of her life regretting and trying to atone this mistake. The first act of the film, set in the picturesque country house, effectively conveys the sweltering heat of the British Summer and the mental unrest that comes with it. The camera never stays still, and cinematographer Seamus McGarvey even used Christian Dior stockings over the lenses to portray the heat and its effects on the residents. As Briony starts thinking about what she doesn't understand, trying to write a play of it, Dario Marianelli's haunting score, which features the rhythmic tapping of typewriter keys, reverberates in the background, to continually remind the audience that something bad is about to happen. The dramatic quality of the film is heightened with different events are replayed from different perspectives to show what something has the appearance of being, and what it really is. This device, though not new, works excellently for Atonement. The second act of the film, set 4 years later, is much grittier and less pretty to watch. Robbie is now a soldier in France, and pines to get back to Cecelia. The horrors of war are not underplayed, and in one excellently-filmed tracking shot, the camera meanders through a chaotic mess of soldiers. Robbie, who had turned out so well before, has not lost practically all of his beauty, and retains only his accent. Similarly, back at home, soldiers with all sorts of disturbing injuries are shown. It is refreshing to see a film that, rather than portraying the war as some sort of patriotic honour, instead shows the horror and suffering that it causes. In what could only be a nod to David Lean with his country houses, upper middle classes and epic romances, Joe Wright chose for his actors to give performances of the pre-Lee Strasburg era. And the cast rise up to the challenge admirably. As the young Briony, Saoirse Ronan is pitch-perfect, conveying her youthful innocence as well as whiny nosiness. Her sense of knowing about things she clearly doesn't is infuriating, but Ronan prevents us from denouncing her entirely, reminding us that she is, after all, just a child. Keira Knightley, who will be keen to forget her "performance" in her other 2007 venture, Pirates of the Caribbean III, doesn't do anything majorly wrong here, and at times even earns the audience's respect and sympathies as the loyal lover. Romola Garai plays the older, more wise Briony with conviction and a touch of sadness. But the star of the show is the one, the only, James McAvoy. In the Q&A that followed the screening of the film, director Joe Wright described Robbie as the highest form of a human being, and he is. Even after he is put in the war to avoid staying in prison for longer, he does not whinge about it, but instead, gets through the day with the hope of seeing Cecelia guiding him through. James McAvoy plays this special individual with compassion and understanding. He has the accent and physicality of Robbie down to a T, but, more importantly, conveys his goodness, without ever having to resort to histrionics. McAvoy's performance is a masterclass in subtle acting. In some pivotal scenes, it is actually his beautiful blue eyes that do the acting more than anything, and they speak more words than Briony's ostentatious prose ever could. There is more than a little similarity between Atonement and The Go-Between. Both tell of love between different classes, and an intruding message carrier between the two. Furthermore, Sarah Greenwood's sensuous set design (in the first act) and accurate war holes (in the second), along with the sound design, which features buzzing bees, works cleverly on a subconscious level to add to the tension. Indeed, Atonement is a technically and visually stunning film. The hues in the first act are almost overly saturated with richness, and this contrasts starkly to the second act, where cold hospital wards and mucky brown war dugouts fill the screen. The costumes are all realistic and accurate, though I personally favour the glamorous designs of the first half, which include a mesmerizing green dress that Cecelia wears. The cinematography, which encompasses long takes, tracking shots, lingering pans all attribute to the visual flair of the movie. But the key stylistic element that stood out for me, was the score. The piano theme is elegiac and melancholy, and the cello and violins also add to the sadness of the romance. Also, the use of a typewriter as an instrument, though started oddly, soon becomes infectious and it even forces its way into viewer's minds, making Robbie's note (and the consequences) unforgettable. Joe Wright and Working Title have made a film to be proud of. Amidst some incredible scenes (such as an extremely erotic library non-reading session between Robbie and Cecelia). The quality and calibre of films that Working Title have turned out recently have been brilliant (Pride & Prejudice, Hot Fuzz, etc) and Atonement ranks up there along with my personal favourites Dead Man Walking and The Hudsucker Proxy. It is a wonderfully crafted, beautifully lush and immensely moving film that shows, above all, how storytelling can both destroy and heal.

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  • Great interpretation of a wonderful novel

    chelseachelsea2007-08-20

    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 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.

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  • Best adaptation of a novel ever!

    b_morelos2008-03-05

    I usually don't like watching novels turned into movies (specially when I liked the novel as much as I liked McEwan's "Atonement") but this was a really pleasant surprise. The plot is extraordinarily well adapted, leaving out what cannot possibly be included in a two-hour film, changing very few details to translate literary language to cinematographic language but sticking to the essence and the spirit of the novel. I really believe that if you enjoyed McEwan's novel, you will fall for this beautiful film. If you have never read McEwan, you will fall for the intriguing and thrilling story written by this wonderful English novelist. Please, don't miss this one!

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  • One Third of "Atonement" Is Brilliant

    evanston_dad2007-12-17

    The first third of "Atonement" is superb. We are introduced to a group of affluent English aristocrats whiling away their summer hours at a massive estate. One of them, Cecilia (Keira Knightley), is nursing a raging case of sexual attraction to her childhood friend and now family gardener, Robbie Turner (James McAvoy), while another, Cecilia's young sister Briony (Saoirse Ronan), spends her day writing a play which she plans to perform for a family gathering later that evening. Everyone is bored and listless in the summer heat. Briony, prey to an overactive imagination, keeps witnessing a series of increasingly serious moments of intimacy between Cecilia and Robbie that she isn't old enough to fully understand, and finally a false accusation by her is responsible for sending Robbie away from the estate in handcuffs. Everything about this part of the film is brilliant. The director Joe Wright ratchets the sexual tension to an almost unbearable pitch, and I was on the edge of my seat waiting to see what would happen. But then the story and movie switched gears, and it lost some of that narrative momentum it had been so wonderfully building. The second and third acts of the film, while accomplished, do not deliver on the promise set up in the film's first part, and the movie never really succeeded in sucking me back in. When we next see Robbie, he's wandering through the desolate battlefields of WWII France, pining for Cecilia and nursing a chest wound. Wright shows off mightily in this part of the film; there's an astounding ten-minute tracking shot that depicts the allied forces on the beach of Dunkirk that will have cineastes slobbering. But like Robbie's mind, this part of the film starts to wander aimlessly, and even while I was admiring the sheer planning that went into this amazing shot, I couldn't help but wish that Wright would just get on with it already. Finally, the film circles back to Briony, four years older and working as a nurse tending to the wounded. She's suffering a tremendous amount of guilt for the wrongs she's only now beginning to understand and wants to reach out to Cecilia (from whom she's now estranged) and Robbie to offer her apologies. I've not read the Iam McEwan novel on which this film is based, but even I could tell that this is where the screenwriter, Christopher Hampton, had the most trouble adapting the novel to the screen. Much of what "Atonement" is about becomes clear in this last act, as Briony ages into Vanessa Redgrave, a successful novelist who has finally written a novel that works as an outlet for her devastating feelings of guilt. We begin to realize here that "Atonement" isn't as much about the love affair between Cecilia and Robbie as it is about the act of writing and the power of words. Briony learns as a little girl how difficult words are to take back once they've been said; as an adult, she learns the ability of words to help us deal with regret. One particular scene that takes place between Cecilia, Robbie and Briony is a fiction inserted into their story by Briony the novelist; it's the story as she wishes it had been rather than as it actually was. Briony the woman can't change the past, but Briony the novelist can. This is a wonderful idea, but unfortunately the screenplay doesn't quite know how to communicate this in cinematic terms, so it's told directly to the audience by Redgrave in a monologue at the film's conclusion. Redgrave is a luminous actress, but her soliloquy feels awkwardly inserted into the film. As for the other actors, they all do fine work. The young actress Saoirse Ronan is especially good, and James McAvoy proves further that he's becoming one of the finest young actors working today. But the screenplay sort of abandons him and Knightley after its first half hour or so to a warmed over version of "The English Patient," and the strong impact they both make early on dissipates gradually. I admired "Atonement" for how it looked and the ideas it had to express, but I think it's an uneven film that doesn't entirely work. Grade: B+

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