Atonement

So the weekend wasn’t all DIY disasters – I managed to pry myself away from the house long enough to go and see Atonement; about which I have to say I have mixed feelings.

Atonement

The performances were undoubtedly brilliant from the actress who played Bryony as an achingly pretentious and prudish child (Saoirse Ronan) through to Vanessa Redgrave who portrayed her as an old lady. Knightley was good, although not as good as the praise suggests and James McAvoy is quite frankly off the page good; a really nuanced performance particularly around the film’s key event.

No my mixed feelings are around the direction. Parts of the film move beautifully with the clear decay of the class system between the two wars sketched perfectly in the aging Surrey Mansion to the panic of the retreat at Dunkirk during 1940. Then others – like the end or the use of multiple points of view seem to clunk, like the director (Joe Wright) is trying to remind you all the while that this was an excellent novel don’t you know.

It’s not that I have anything against that I just don’t want to be knocked over the head with it when I’m watching the film. In truth I think it tries a little too hard but it’s still the best thing I’ve seen in ages.

That – like the story itself – is quite depressing.

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