Atonementstruck: A Short Amateur Review of Atonement

Last Monday was the first time I ever made myself watch Joe Wright’s Atonement, a film-adaptation of Ian McEwan’s authorship of the same name and all I can say is that it is plainly an incredible film!

Everything is on-point, let alone the cinematography. Joe Wright became an essential director of emotions. Talk about the well-played plot, the feeling it gives you is unexplainable. Also, the lines make you want to hang on to them, wring every substantial meaning from them, and recite them in your head. It’s melancholically sparkling, ironic.

I have no intentions of spoiling, but the story revolves around a false accusation and testimony of a 13-year old Briony Tallis against her sister’s lover. Cecilia Tallis and Robbie Turner were torn apart as the latter was imprisoned and was soon sent to the British army. Cecilia then estranged herself to her family, being the only one, aside from Robbie’s mother, who believed he is innocent. Briony, eventually realizing the great weight of the lie she created as a young girl and how it built a life-long despair to the lovers and to herself, aimed for atonement.

As it finishes with the credits showing up, I started to think that maybe Atonement isn’t really a film, but a feeling. It never failed to give me chills from start to end! For some, the progression of the events can be quite slow sometimes, but I think that is just how it’s supposed to be – every emotion of the moment should be perceived by all our senses. The wordless languid scenes allow us to think, feel and understand the very sense of the movie – the great cost a lie, whatever form or degree, demands from life.

“I had for a very long time decided to tell the absolute truth. No rhymes, no embellishments… but the effect of all this honesty was rather pitiless, you see. I couldn’t any longer imagine what purpose would be served by it.” – Briony Tallis

My favorite, which probably is everyone’s favorite too, is the Dunkirk beach scene. The breath-taking Dunkirk scene. The transitions are amazing and imaginative. It felt as if I was at the same place while feeling the same pain and weariness that the characters are feeling. Not to mention the hazy melancholic parts where Robbie was dreaming of coming home to Cee and his mother.

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Dunkirk Campground (Photo from Google) 

The last scene, where Robbie and Cecilia are playing at the shore, having the time of their lives they have always deserved, was a perfect ending that lessens the ache of an utterly heavy-hearted viewer. It was rather solace.

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Ofcourse, James McAvoy is unsurprisingly the apple of the eye. He is just so amazing in laying down all kinds of emotion that you can’t take your eyes off his face. He’s a jaw-droppingly awesome actor and he deserves all sorts of award for his performance. After watching Atonement, I reckon I am deeply in love with this actor. Everything he does is just so perfect.

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I mean look at those eyes. They tear me apart!

The only possible negative thing I can say about it is that I’m personally not that pleased with Kiera’s performance. She was okay, like she usually is, but being okay is not at all fine when you’re acting next to an extraordinarily magnificent actor like James McAvoy! They could’ve chosen a better Cecilia, in my opinion. Her eyes looked so empty when they’re supposed to be brimming with too much pain from the loss of a bright future with the one-great-love of your life. To me, she was unsuccessful in carrying out the sorrow and love, all I was able to see was pride and lust. Nonetheless, her lack of prominence in the film was overpowered with a great plot and other great performances.

Inspite of Kiera, I still love this film and I will definitely recommend it to anyone who’ll ask me of a great movie, in case they want to be atonement-stricken as I am. I downloaded a pdf of McEwan’s book and I have to see for myself whether the book is just as good as the film or maybe even better, like what usually happens… but more than anything, hats off to Atonement! 

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