Well, just like most of the good movies I watch, I had to download Atonement to watch it, since the city does not approve of bringing critically acclaimed films to the theatres. Let's all go and watch Air Buddies(that too in hindi). Yaaa whatever.
Well, browsing through IMDB, I found myself caught onto the home page of this movie. Read a review, liked it. Didn't know anything about the story except that it was set in wartime England or something. Searched it up, downloaded it. Watched it. Wow!!
Atonement comes from Director Joe Wright, director of the critically acclaimed Pride and Prejudice(2005), with Keira Knightley and James McAvoy, and is based on the novel of the same name written by Ian McEwan. It also happens to be the movie that kick-started The 2007 Venice International Film Festival.
Well, all of that aside, the first thing that struck me while watching the very opening scenes of Atonement, was the background music. It's hooked with a typewriter, and sounds like something I've never heard before. It's a very very integral part of the movie, mind you, and is something that might just make anyone go,"Damn! Now why didn't I think of that?" .. It's only that good.
Atonementdoes not have an ensemble cast. Keira Knightley shows us how much it is she's matured over the years. See this and compare it with her role as a Bounty Hunter in Domino. The results are shocking, and outstanding. The lead actor, James McAvoy, is someone you might recognise. But,"What's his name?" you'll go. He was the one who played the fawn, Mr.Tumnus, in The Lion The Witch and The Wardrobe. And was also there in The Last King of Scotland. A known face, yet unrecognized by many.
To put things straight, the acting is spot on. From the little 13 year old Brionny Tallis(Saoirse Ronan) who expresses situations oh so easily it seems; to her older 18 year old version(;Romola Garai) jumping to her elder sister Cecilia(Keira Knightley) who(still thinner than you can imagine) gives us as much of a visual treat as one can ask for. It would come as something of a surprise to me if James McAvoy is not nominated for an Oscar for his role as Robbie Turner. He is what keeps you captivated to the screen. Young, dashing, almost flawless. Walking through a beach-camp. No words, nothing.. Just visuals. Created, not CGI.
Certain scenes.. One being the long walk down the beach. The only love-making scene of the movie, in palled darkness, passionate, in a library. Amazingly done. The five minutes where Brionny sits and converses with a soldier in the hospital. The very opening scene, focusing on a herd of plastic animals as the young Brionny applies finishing touches to her play, The Trials of Arabella. Twice the opening music is played, the exact same. At both introductions to the young Tallis. One, when she's 13; the other when she's 18. A genius concept.
The panning of the camera, the cinematography, the editing(allowing you to look at something you want to for an elongated period of time, and vice versa), everything has a high amount of graphic detail, making it even more attractive. The musical jumps, with the typewriter clicking in the background. Actually, I could sit and write a whole review on just the background music of the film.
The story is simple. About a misunderstanding, mistaken innocence, and perhaps a little more. The desires of the young, seemingly mature, yet not so. A juvenile crush. Revenge. Anger. Most of all, jealousy. Ian McAvoy is a master storyteller. One must read the book to get the whole impact of this brilliant story. It is simply riveting.
The storyline being the main driving source of the movie, you will be hooked, from beginning to end. It's just the quality of the picture. It leaves a benchmark for all the others. Atonementis, quite simply, one of the best films of 2007. It's a pity that us Calcuttans aren't allowed to go and see films like these in the theatres. They deserve some amount of attention from the Central Board of Film Certification. Are you listening, Sharmila Tagore?
A fair 8/10. Loved the ending a lot. And, do I need to start blabbing about the background score again?