Archive for Vanessa Redgrave

Joe Wright’s “Atonement”

Posted in Atonement, Film with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on 2 December, 2008 by Nicola

Strangely enough, I feel exactly the same way about this film as I do about the source material. Like the book, this film is aesthetically pleasing. It is poetically shot, the performances from the cast are astonishing, especially the three Briony’s. There is a sense of foreboding as the film starts in a everyday home, as the haunting score by award winning Dario Marianelli sweeps in. The costumes are beautiful, and the image of Keira Knightley in her stunning green gown will probably never leave me.

There is a lot to see here, but the film’s short-comings are through no fault of the film makers who have created probably the perfect adaptation, but the source material. Ian McEwan’s novel of the same name is a beautifully written book, full of Latinate language and lush imagery. McEwan’s failure is to come up with not only an engaging story, but to flesh out the characters that could make the plot work. He failed on both counts. And so, ever so loyally, the novel is adapted to screen, and the exact same problems are translated there. There was not one unconvincing performance in the entire film; Keira Knightley and James McAvoy did all that they can, which was more than enough (and definitely Keira’s best performance since Pride & Prejudice) but the characters are somewhat mechanical. Characterisation is neglected; motivations are one dimensional; emotional engagement with the protagonists is a real effort. Continue reading

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