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Mar 30, 2008

Fletch's Film Review: Atonement

This is the first of two reviews that I'm posting more of less just for posterity's sake. This first one I've been procrastinating for months now, and the second I feel I would procrastinate for months, so I'll just get that out of the way and put something up shortly for it. These will be very small, and it'd probably be best if we all pretend they just didn't happen (kinda like Verne Troyer).

Joe Wright's Atonement starts with a frenzy of sound; the tapping of a typewriter, mirroring the actions of one Briony Tallis, who has resorted to play writing in an effort to escape the doldrums of living in a giant manse with nothing to do but play with her bizarre cousins. She has the mind of a dreamer and is just smart enough to get herself and those she knows in trouble, particularly when she spies something and misinterprets what she's seeing. This imagination is one that will cause a ripple effect of damage to those nearest and dearest to her.

Director Joe Wright has a keen eye for visuals, but is stuck with a story that, eventually, goes nowhere, leaving the viewer frustrated and cheated. There's an air of grandiosity to it all, when really it's a simple story of love and redemption, and it's really not that big at all.

Fletch's Film Rating:

"You seem a decent fellow. I hate to kill you."

11 people have chosen wisely: on "Fletch's Film Review: Atonement"

J.D. said...


I'm really annoyed that I'm apparently the only person on earth who unabashedly loves it.


Jess said...

I loved it - I thought it was one of the most romantic movies I've ever seen. I don't need my romance to end happily, just to have been worthwhile.

Nick said...

I loved the first half of it, when Briony was still young. After that... when the war stuff starts to happen, the movie falls apart for me.

Also, there was absolutely zero chemistry between Keira Knightley and James McAvoy.

Matthew Lucas said...

I love the ending, but I feel like there's something missing in the way of a transition between the second and third act - it's very abrupt.

Evan Derrick said...

You get the distinct impression that it was a better book than film.

And I don't think any scene in recent cinema memory screams "HUBRIS!" louder than that 4 minute tracking shot on the beach. After seeing that, the only thing I could think was, "Who the heck let Wright blow $2 million on that shot?"

Mrs. Thuro said...

Nick, I disagree about the chemistry. I thought the scene in the library was very hot. But I think James McAvoy is good enough that he could have chemistry with a brick wall.

Nick said...

Evan: Then you should see a little movie called 'Elephant'. The whole movie is nothing but a bunch of strung-together continuous shots. It tries to be like... the most artsy movie of all time... but it's just plain boring and sucks. You spend half the movie staring at the back of somebody's head as they're walking down a sidewalk or hallway.

Mrs. Thuro: lol... to each their own. But I feel that 'hotness' and 'chemistry' are two different things. After all, two people in a porno can be hot, but if there's bad acting leading up to the sex and I feel no connection between the characters, I'll say there's no chemistry. :P

Pat said...

I agree with Nick that the first third of the movie was the best, and things fell apart when it got to the war scenes.

The ending was much less abrupt and much more emotionally satisfying in the book.

Nayana Anthony said...

I did not enjoy Atonement... at all. The score was kind of cool, and I dug the green dress, but apart from that... nothing. I even tried to watch it a second time... still nothing. Worst movie ending in recent history.

Daniel G. said...

Your last line says it all for me Fletch, along with the fact that it took you so long to write this. I didn't hate it, but it didn't do much for me.

Tully Moxness said...

Wow, I normally hate these drawing room Brit flicks, but I kind of loved this one. I saw it at the 'All 5 Oscar Flicks In One Day' dealio at the AMC in Burbank, and I almost lost it at the end while sitting next to these two cute girls who didn't seem to be affected. I'm not sure why so many people hated the last 1/3, but I was moved by the realization that Briony's act had even worse repurcussions than I initially thought. Sometimes, you don't get a second chance at redemption. Of course, I also learned this from that episode where Matthew Perry and Carol got in a drunk driving accident and just when you thought they'd learned their lesson without any horrible blowback, Matthew died of his internal injuries. Heartbreaking!