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Atonement - When does it go wide?

Old 12-30-07, 07:56 PM
  #26  
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I'll echo my sentiments that technically, the film is very good (direction, cinematography, sets, costumes), though the story lacks an emotional undercurrent, mainly because it has a bit of dishonest storytelling at its core, so any character development you might have enjoyed evaporates in the last act of the film, and whatever angst and tugging of heart strings rings hollow and false. The acting is uneven for the lead character of Briony causing tonal shifts from the 1st act to the middle act which causes the film to run out of steam prematurely, which undermines the concept of "atonement" for Briony as the film concludes.

I give it 2.75 stars, or a grade of B-.

Last edited by Patman; 12-30-07 at 08:15 PM.
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Old 01-04-08, 08:42 PM
  #27  
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Originally Posted by Finisher
The central premise is flimsy as hell.
You could make the argument that that's the point. A romance that turns completely tragic because of one small thing. Anyway, I quite enjoyed it.
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Old 01-06-08, 07:51 PM
  #28  
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Caught a showing of this movie finally with my girlfriend tonight.

I really enjoyed the first half of the film. Once the film started to concentrate on present day Briony, it started to spiral downward. That was probably my only gripe with them movie (as well as the ending).

I'd give the film a B-. Both Keira Knightley and James McAvoy were fantastic in their roles.
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Old 01-06-08, 09:05 PM
  #29  
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I caught this today as well. Decent movie, but not Best Picture material, IMO. The leads were both great though.
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Old 01-13-08, 01:30 PM
  #30  
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Best movie I've seen released in last year. Joe Wright is a phenomenal director. The acting was wonderful, and everything looked great.
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Old 01-13-08, 01:58 PM
  #31  
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Originally Posted by Brack
Best movie I've seen released in last year. Joe Wright is a phenomenal director. The acting was wonderful, and everything looked great.
Glad to see I'm not the only one that really appreciated it. The ending floored me.
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Old 01-13-08, 04:12 PM
  #32  
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I saw it yesterday and it is a good film that does a lot of things right - good direction, some really strong performances by McAvoy, Redgrave, Ronan, great score, nice cinematography. I didn't mind the end, in fact I thought it was rather powerful (despite invalidating most of what came before).

But, it just felt lifeless.....its like everyone turned in very professional work, but no one brought the heart. It's a good movie, but I wouldn't consider it "Best Picture" material.
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Old 01-13-08, 07:18 PM
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I thought the leads had a lot of heart.
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Old 01-16-08, 09:46 PM
  #34  
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I saw this tonight and parts of the movie were extremely powerful. I can see Patman's point of view and hardercore's as well. The movie does start to run out of steam in the middle, but overall it was pretty good. I don't like period dramas, but I liked Atonement.
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Old 01-27-08, 10:02 AM
  #35  
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I saw this last night and although I appreciate the beauty and power of the film, it just isn't my style of movie. Too long, too depressing. I give it a C but primarily on the basis of it being a genre I really don't care for. As the Bus said, if you like period dramas this would be your movie.
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Old 03-15-08, 12:59 AM
  #36  
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I guess this is the official thread.

Wow. What a beautiful film. Joe Wright is such an amazing director. I was thoroughly impressed with Pride & Prejudice when I watched it a couple months back and really looked forward to seeing his next picture. Every shot in the film could be framed and hung on a wall. The film itself was decent I think I actually liked the storyline and characters better in Pride & Prejudice but everything else here was better.

Wright was robbed the Oscar nomination. He deserved the nomination over the Best Picture nod.

Decent film, gorgeous to look at. I hope Wright directs films that I have more of an interest in.
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Old 03-15-08, 01:12 AM
  #37  
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That Reitman got a nom over Joe Wright was an abomination. I agree with the above sentiments completely.
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Old 03-15-08, 10:59 AM
  #38  
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Originally Posted by clemente
I didn't mind the end, in fact I thought it was rather powerful (despite invalidating most of what came before).

But, it just felt lifeless.....its like everyone turned in very professional work, but no one brought the heart. It's a good movie, but I wouldn't consider it "Best Picture" material.
I don't see the invalidation. It's all fiction anyway, so it's both a happy and sad ending. Especially if you subscribe to the idea of parallel universes.

The sort of coldness of the film appealed to me for some reason too, but I'd call it a more distant feeling than cold, which makes sense considering Briony only witnessed all of these things.

I think it deserved it's nominations, and should've had a directorial one as well.
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Old 03-17-08, 08:36 AM
  #39  
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Originally Posted by Brack
Best movie I've seen released in last year.
Agreed. Though I haven't seen No Country For Old Men yet.

My only gripe is only the girl who play adult Briony.
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Old 04-21-08, 05:33 AM
  #40  
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Just watched this last night and I honestly don't get any of the praise it received. It's really a terribly written story. The mixing up of the letters came off as idiotic and contrived, especially considering that he realized what he'd done 2 seconds after handing the dirty note to a little girl. No less ridiculous was the little girl turning on him and everyone immediately buying her story about him raping her cousin. I know they threw in the line about her family already looking down on him and that just being an excuse, but please. If that was the case, they did a piss poor job of conveying it. If Keira Knightley's character stepped forward and said no, he was fucking me, not attacking me, it seems they would've had to at least take some time with an investigation instead of arresting McAvoy within a couple hours of the crime.

It was also a huge mistake to jump from McAvoy getting arrested to him being in the war. There would've been a good chance of him ending up in the war regardless, so showing that as the consequence of the little bitch's lies really removed a lot of the tragedy from it. There was a throwaway line about how terrible prison was, but we didn't see any of that. The love story wasn't developed at all either, so the audience doesn't really get any real emotional connection to what McAvoy's character supposedly 'lost' due to his wrongful arrest.

The entire story felt absurd and contrived. The twist at the end might have resonated if the movie were based on a true story, but since it wasn't, it just came off as a laughable attempt to force some meaning into a story about cardboard cut-outs of characters. And it can be refreshing to see a movie try to do something different with its score, but those goddamn typewriter-driven pieces just about made me want to stop the movie, remove it from my player and break the disc in half. You might as well have had a children's choir singing, 'All this is because of the letter! Remember the letter? You know, the **** letter that he accidently gave his love?!' It would've have been no less subtle.

I'll admit that the tracking shot was great, the movie was very pretty to look at and some of the performances were pretty damn good. I just have no idea how those things alone earn a best picture nod, when so many other aspects of the movie were completely lacking.
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Old 04-21-08, 09:56 AM
  #41  
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I have to agree with everything said. At first I thought it was just because period dramas really aren't my thing. But in looking back I just think there are too many flaws to the movie. The little girl received accolades for her compelling performance. Boy, no one looks out a window quite like she does. There were definately some strong aspects to the movie. It just wasn't an award winning cinematic achievement in my book.
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Old 04-21-08, 11:47 AM
  #42  
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Scathing review there, but I pretty much agree with both of you. I think there was enough good stuff to overlook a lot of the flaws, but the second half of the movie just didn't hold up for me. I'd have to lay blame to the writing as well (I know it was novel), as most everyone involved is pretty top notch. Not as good as Pride and Prejudice all around, and not as rewatchable.

I disagree about the music though; I thought the sound design and music were top notch. As well as the cinematography. And Keira

Not "best picture" material but a pretty solid movie if you can overlook the flaws and the ending. Hopefully Joe Wright does another period piece with Keira.
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Old 04-21-08, 03:02 PM
  #43  
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Originally Posted by maxfisher
Just watched this last night and I honestly don't get any of the praise it received. It's really a terribly written story. The mixing up of the letters came off as idiotic and contrived, especially considering that he realized what he'd done 2 seconds after handing the dirty note to a little girl. No less ridiculous was the little girl turning on him and everyone immediately buying her story about him raping her cousin. I know they threw in the line about her family already looking down on him and that just being an excuse, but please. If that was the case, they did a piss poor job of conveying it. If Keira Knightley's character stepped forward and said no, he was fucking me, not attacking me, it seems they would've had to at least take some time with an investigation instead of arresting McAvoy within a couple hours of the crime.

It was also a huge mistake to jump from McAvoy getting arrested to him being in the war. There would've been a good chance of him ending up in the war regardless, so showing that as the consequence of the little bitch's lies really removed a lot of the tragedy from it. There was a throwaway line about how terrible prison was, but we didn't see any of that. The love story wasn't developed at all either, so the audience doesn't really get any real emotional connection to what McAvoy's character supposedly 'lost' due to his wrongful arrest.

The entire story felt absurd and contrived. The twist at the end might have resonated if the movie were based on a true story, but since it wasn't, it just came off as a laughable attempt to force some meaning into a story about cardboard cut-outs of characters. And it can be refreshing to see a movie try to do something different with its score, but those goddamn typewriter-driven pieces just about made me want to stop the movie, remove it from my player and break the disc in half. You might as well have had a children's choir singing, 'All this is because of the letter! Remember the letter? You know, the **** letter that he accidently gave his love?!' It would've have been no less subtle.

I'll admit that the tracking shot was great, the movie was very pretty to look at and some of the performances were pretty damn good. I just have no idea how those things alone earn a best picture nod, when so many other aspects of the movie were completely lacking.

A very honest, and to the point review, nicely done.

While I had a some gripes with the movie (most have been mentioned by maxfisher) I thought it was pretty good. Joe Wright is a great director and I loved some of his shots. Cinematography was great as well. I think it either needed to be a little longer, or the beginning shaved down some, because there were some other elements I would have like to seen the movie focus on. As maxfisher mentioned, him being arrested to him instantly in the war didn't really work for me, it just seemed empty, and no emotional connection to McAvoy's character supposedly 'lost' due to his wrongful arrest.
I also didn't care for the actress that played adult Brioney (also as mentioned above), just something about her that didn't sit right.
And the mixing up of the letter was just plain dumb.

I think as part of the ending, they should have had a camera shot go across Vanessa's hand showing that she had no ring on, showing that maybe she never got married, she never found true love, and that maybe that was part of her karma in life. I don't know, something like that.
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Old 04-22-08, 11:08 AM
  #44  
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I agree as well. "Atonement" is one of those films that think it's going to win an Oscar or Academy award and that just comes off pretentious.

I'm not usually a fan of the genre "Atonement" falls under, but I've enjoyed a few romantic dramas before. Heck, even "Titanic", a very hyped up film, was enjoyable, but this just didn't have the spark that "Titanic" did. "Atonement" is probably the second biggest disappointment of 2007 since "There Will Be Blood". The acting is superb, however. Both McAvoy and Knightley were terrific. Just like TWBB; the acting wasn't the problem with film, it was the writing. It wouldn't be considered a bad screenplay, I guess, but it just wasn't very interesting and it just came off dull and unengaging. Parts of "Atonement" were good, but after...

Spoiler:
Turner went to war; it became very unengaging.


Like I said, not a terrible film, just not a very interesting one either.
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Old 04-22-08, 01:02 PM
  #45  
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I rented this last week and I generally liked it. But then again I'm a sucker for British flicks like this. That said, I can kinda see what you guys who didn't like it meant in your reviews. I guess I'm more forgiving with films like this but I also realize "Atonement" was not perfect.


****SPOILER AHEAD****


Question:

I realize the bit with Briony visiting her sister to was made up to give them some time together even though it was only in a fantasy sense. This according to Old Briony. But was the part with the redhead cousin marrying the sleazy chocolate factory owner made up too or was that real?
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Old 04-22-08, 01:05 PM
  #46  
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Originally Posted by Mercury&Solace

I think as part of the ending, they should have had a camera shot go across Vanessa's hand showing that she had no ring on, showing that maybe she never got married, she never found true love, and that maybe that was part of her karma in life. I don't know, something like that.

I think in the commentary the Director said she never did, and in fact was probably still a virgin. He said that part of the initial problem going back to her youth, is she never understood the sexuality between her sister and the young man. Even in the made up visit, she was still curious, fascinated, and confused about the intimacy between them. If I remember right he said that this is probably one of the many reasons why she never married; because the lack of understanding was with her into old age.

Last edited by Giantrobo; 04-22-08 at 01:11 PM.
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