Saturday, January 12, 2008


A forbidden love. A secret letter. A child’s imagination. A false accusation. Torn apart by betrayal. Separated by war. Bound by love. Atonement.
Well, tonight, actually very very soon, I will finally be going to see this movie I have wanted to see for a long long time. My anticipation level for Atonement is high.
For one thing, it has Keira in it!
But secondly, I love the story.
I loved the book by Ian McEwan, and so I am really counting on director Joe Wright [Pride & Prejudice] to do the thing justice. Lately, I have been feeling that it is nearly impossible to cram the glories of great books into two measly hours of theater time. In this sense, I was overall a bit disappointed with The Golden Compass for I feel that the movie did not do justice to Philip Pullman’s book.
I am hoping for better things tonight, and I will begin by making sure I go into THE RIGHT THEATER the first time around!
Has anyone already seen Atonement?
Your opinion [review] is welcome here at Bookpuddle. Drop me a line and tell me what you thought of the movie. I will respond in the comments section.
View the trailer HERE.


Anonymous said...

The film could not have been any more true to the book. I loved it. It is the best film I have seen in a very long time. Visually breathtaking. And McEwan's concept of art being able to atone - it's all there. If you have read the book, you are enriched, but even if you haven't (the person I went with had not), it is still a magnificent two hours.

I liked Compass - both the book and the film. Did not expect it to be the book.

I do hope you enjoyed Atonement, cip, after you found the proper theater location. And even beyond the charms of Ms. Knightley - who is admittedly brilliant in it. As is the young Briony and Robbie (James McAvoy).

cipriano said...

Well anonymous, I could not agree with you more.
I think it was a fine film, indeed. So true to the book, so true to the book... really quite amazingly so.
The screenwriters did a fantastic job of bringing McEwan's story to the screen.
And artfully so.
I loved the technique of having some of the most relevant scenes portrayed and then have them immediately flashbacked to ten or fifteen minutes previous to the given scene, to see what led to what we have already viewed. I'm thinking of the broken vase at the fountain scene, or, the [ahem].... library scene.

I thought the acting was fabulous, Cee and Robbie being brilliantly represented by Keira Knightley and James McAvoy.
And I think the three different Brionys were also amazing. When 13-year old Briony sees Cee and Robbie in the library.... it's just the perfect trauma on the face of actress Saoirse Ronan. Then, for me one of the most powerful scenes was when the 18-year old Briony [played by Romola Garai] visits Cee and Robbie at their apartment. The angles are marvelous. At all times we are able to see Briony's utter anguish, her horrid shame and regret. It is enough to break the viewer's heart, as she is [quite understandably] met with disdain and unforgiveness by both her sister and Robbie.
And then Vanessa Redgrave, the elder Briony.
STUPENDOUSLY great performance, even though we do not see much of her, but for these few minutes when she is being interviewed as the author of Two Figures at the Fountain, and she reveals the embellishments of the story... could there be anyone more convincing and sincere? Wonderful stuff.

For cinematography, did you notice the unbroken length of the scene at the beach of Dunkirk, beginning with the three lads walking up from the beach and ending with the revelry in the bar? That was a continuous shot! Crazy filmatography! {<-- nice word, huh?]

I noted one funny glitch in that final scene with Vanessa Redgrave. At the beginning of her interview there is a mole on the left side of her face. We first see this mole on Nurse Briony when she is eighteen. However, it is on the RIGHT side of her face, at that time.
Then, later in the interview with the elder Briony [Redgrave] the mole has again migrated its way to the right side of the face, where it should always have been in the first place.

What an amazing movie. It was truly well-done!
Moles aside.

cipriano said...

Two things, and then to bed.
Firstly, I am confused. In the movie, the book that the elder Briony writes [her last novel] is called "Atonement" [so says the interviewer] but in the book, wasn't it called "Two Figures At A Fountain?"

And secondly, think of it.
None of the story would have unfolded as it did, if Robbie had not handed young Briony the wrong letter to deliver to Cee.
Ahh, Ian!
Ian, Ian, Ian.
The master of the antecedent cause!

cipriano said...

Wait, maybe I'm NOT going to bed yet!
I just found this sort of by accident, talking about the LONG SHOT, the Dunkirk scene... found this in an interview with director Joe Wright:

Next we have to talk about That Long Shot. In the section about the Dunkirk evacuation, there is a take that lasts for five-and-a-half minutes continuously – a directorial calling card that is already attracting critical plaudits. It must have taken some orchestration.

"We had about 1,000 extras, young men from Redcar and Sunderland, gathered together in a large sports hall. Speaking to them made me feel like Monty. I explained everything we were trying to do, organising them into groups while we had 10 hours of rehearsal, with Danny and James and Nonso [the leads Daniel Mays, James McAvoy and Nonso Anozie] fully integrated, not allowed to go to their trailers. Then we went for a take and the light just freakishly appeared. We were blessed, really. A lot of us were crying as it happened."


Merisi said...

You convinced me I have got to see the movie!
Here I have a photo of the actual Bernini fountain, a copy of which McEwan places in the park where the scene with the vase takes place.
The cataclysmic consequences of this initially so beautiful scene, full McEwan power. I dare not so more for fear of spoiling anybody's enjoyment of the book and film.
So they got the library scene right?

cipriano said...

Hey, crazy, that photo of the fountain there. Awesome shot!
And yes, yes, YES.... you must go see this movie, I say!
My perspective is that anyone who loved the book, will love the movie.
And yes.... they got the library scene!
Oh, they got it good!