Saturday, November 3, 2012

Truth, Remorse - Atonement

Atonement (2007)
Genre: Drama, Romance, Mystery, War
Direction: Joe Wright
Cast: Keira Knightley, James McAvoy, Saoirse Ronan, Ramola Garai
I usually don’t prefer to watch romance genre films irrespective of the language. My choices are mystery thrillers, movies with twisted ending, and sort of stuffs. There are around a dozen of high rated romance flicks in my laptop without even opening the folder for more than 2 years, occupying space simply. One among them ‘was’ Atonement. I watched it at last, a couple of days before. At first I thought it’s an ordinary love story. Yes it is a love story, but not as what I thought to be ordinary. It’s an extraordinary film made in recent years. 
We humans often commit mistakes, do misinterpretations, sometimes assume things to an extent that we blindly believe what we have witnessed are the truth. It may even bring unexpected and unbearable consequences to the persons involved. But we don’t let ourselves to at least try to know what has actually happened. Because, what if we are wrong? What if the things we believe are actually the other way around? Our ego does not let us accept our mistake. This happens with most of us. Doesn’t it? Well… the British romance mystery drama Atonement has a similar storyline, a story of how a blind mistake committed by a young girl Briony (Ronan) turns the lives of her elder sister Cecilia (Keira) and her lover Robbie (McAvoy) upside down. 
Atonement has an intricate but spectacular story, fantastic narrative style, terrific performances, and wonderful visuals. The continuous 5 minutes long war-torn Dunkirk beach scene is more than enough to speak about the film’s photography. It is breathtaking and one of the visually stunning scenes of all time. The camera movement inside the palatial mansion is also pretty good. The background score is very well effective and coherent. This is the first time I have seen the typewriter clanking sound being used in soundtrack in important scenes. This is really distinctive and absolutely praiseworthy. The direction by British director Joe Wright is remarkably good, followed by his previous film Pride and Prejudice. This marks second consecutive and successful collaboration between Keira and Wright. Adapted from the novel of the same name, it is considered to be one of the best adaptions till date.
Keira has an intense role which she has done perfectly, except that she smokes a lot on screen. Her role in Atonement is largely different from her earlier roles. She proves her mettle with strong acting throughout the film. James McAvoy is none different from Keira. He has also given his best shot. His performance adds more credibility to the significant Dunkirk scene. Both Keira and James have given one of their career best performances in Atonement. But the show stealing performance is from Saiorse Ronan, who played the young Briony, age 13. Briony is the vital character of the film which is actually played by three different actors in different ages. Ronan takes the role of young Briony, delivering a subtle, surprising and strikingly awesome class act, like a precious stone or gem that is not seen often. She earned an academy award nomination for best supporting actress at the age of 14 years itself, becoming the youngest. Ramola Garai plays the teenage Briony, who has a nearly equally good show to Ronan. Vanessa Redgrave who takes the role of an aged Briony, did the needed, though she appears for less than 10 minutes in the film.
From Left to Right : Saoirse Ronan, Romola Garai, Vanessa Redgrave as Briony Tallis
As said already, it’s not simply a romance film. Most of the romance films used to be of comedy-romance genre. If you expect it to be a movie like, a boy and girl falls in love, part their way and rejoice again, and sentimental stuffs, Atonement is not for you. It largely differs from those clichéd films in a way that it strikes you hard. It has situations that are painful sometimes, shocking at some other instances, and characters that are helpless and remorseful. A movie is successful if it manipulates you and leaves you with an impact even after hours after watching it. That’s what happened to me while I was watching this. Such kind of movies only becomes unforgettable for years. And Atonement is surely one such not-to-miss film.
My Rating: Do I need to tell you that I’m gonna give 10 out 10?!!!


  1. Good review of a masterpiece movie. I bought the novel especially after watching the movie. Great narrative, wonderful performances and has the best cinematography.