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Atonement - our next film

Posted: Sat Apr 05, 2008 8:02 am
by locke
I think Atonement is a more than appropriate film to accompany/follow Jane Eyre--not the least of which is because Young Briony in Atonement is very much like the young Jane Eyre.


Atonement is not your typical period romance or world war II film. The film is told in four parts and begins in pre-war England, at mid-summer on the Tallis family estate. Briony and Celia Tallis are sisters, Briony is thirteen and has just completed her first play. Celia is returned from Oxford, as has their groomsman's son, Robbie, who was there on scholarship and has graduated. (and next intends to attend medical school). Three cousins, a fifteen year old girl, and two twin boys cram into the house as well, Briony promptly enlists them in her play. And the girls' older brother has returned as well, bringing with him his best friend, the heir to a chocolate empire. It's a sweltering summer temperture-wise and otherwise-wise, and it's coming to a head that night.


Something has sparked Briony to write a play that "love is all well and good, but sometimes you just have to be sensible." meanwhile Robbie and Celia have a dramatic quarrel--or encounter--beside the fountain. An intimate letter that should have never been sent is delivered and Briony sees something she shouldn't, and as a crime takes place on the estate Briony becomes the only witness and her lie will haunt all their lives from now on.


The rest of the film plays out in Dunkirk, picking up our characters there and in London hospitals, before a final coda reveals and alters our perceptions of these characters, who they were and what their story means.

Atonement features outstanding photography and is directed quite brilliantly by Joe Wright (Pride and Prejudice), the performances by the entire cast are amongst the very best of 2007, particularly James McAvoy and Saoirse Ronan who deliver incredible, accessible and sophisticated performances that are as rich as any fan of fabulously told stories could ask for.