Atonement (R)

How can I write this without blushing? No, not about the sex – anyone who has seen the trailer knows about that – no, I’m blushing about the cinematography this time.

Not to put too fine a point on it, but it was better than the sex… and the sex wasn’t bad! I have admired cinematography in movies plenty of times in the past. But rarely I have ever been so impressed that I’ve come straight home to the computer to find out WHO was behind the camera, WHAT he has done before this work, and HOW SOON I can get my hands on projects of his that I haven’t seen before. In this case the answers are: Seamus McGarvey; Enigma, Wit, The Hours, and High Fidelity; oh, and not soon enough!

Hey, Seamus, betcha didn’t know that you’re my new movie hero.

What? Oh, right, the movie… The movie was great in a sort of A River Runs Through It kind of way — wonderful to watch unfold, riveting, captivating, devastating in some ways, beautiful to look at and underpinned by a strong, compelling story.

The director, Joe Wright of Pride & Prejudice fame did some stunning work here. I mentioned above that the movie “unfolds” but that word doesn’t do it justice. He employs some great fresh tricks of time to tell certain parts of the story, and he uses them very effectively. (You know that the director has successfully commanded your attention when you find yourself muttering “Oh my God… OH MY GOD… go! Go! For God sakes GO!!” in the middle of the theater even though you consider talking out loud during a movie the highest level of sacrilege punishable by life-long theatrical exile. I’m just saying.) No one around me seemed to notice. I think they were all muttering too.

I need to and will own this movie, if only to be able to go back and revisit the library scene (no, no for the cinematography!!!) and the amazing continuous shot scene of James McAvoy and two of his comrades walking through the chaos on the beach at Dunkirk early in WWII. I don’t think I’ll ever forget that scene. Ever.

Happy surprises: Brenda Blethyn in a small role as the housekeeper, and later in the film a brief and devastating performance by Vanessa Redgrave.

Do this movie justice and see it in the theater. It deserves a big screen and a decent bag of hot popcorn.



3 thoughts on “Atonement (R)

  1. I think you should take over writing reviews for the Press. They just stink at it. You’re good. Now I have another movie that I have to see soon. (this and Sweeney Todd are on my list for now).

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