Saturday, December 15, 2007

10 Initial Thoughts on the film Atonement

1. I really liked the book. I also really liked the movie.

2. This is a hard book to adapt. (As addressed in my open letter to screenplay writer Chris Hampton & Director Joe Wright).

3. Because the book is a little more philosophical and makes comments about truth, perception, and reality, the book does not have a traditional story arch. This will be challenging for some people. (A favorite quote form the book can be found here)

4. The old lady's who were laughing, covering their eyes, and shrieking and saying expressions like "oh my," made the movie fun.

5. Dario Marianelli's score is both good and annoying. The use of typewriter motif makes the music very unique and creative. But the repeating theme (that almost sounds horror-movie-esque) was overplayed. Music plays a big part in this movie, since the movie is not dialogue driven, the music is very important in conveying the characters emotions. In that Marianelli does a great job as well.

6. Which Briony Tallis deserves an academy award nomination? Vanessa Redgrave's tiny scene is incredible, yet it is so short. (A nomination would be similar to Judi Dench's nomination for Shakespeare in Love). Ramola Garai does great, but is also not given significant screen time, relative to Saoirse Ronan excellent acting. I imagine Ronan has a great chance for the supporting nod, and it would be deserved.

7. My wife's never read the book before...what did she think? She got kind of bored in the middle, especially with James McAvoy war scenes.

8. After reading the book, it made me want to engage with other people who knew these characters, actions, motivations, etc. Many of McEwan's messages from this movie are very interesting to me. I hope people see this movie and want to discuss some of the themes further.

9. I felt like this movie reminded me more of a painting than a movie. Especially when the soldiers are out at the beach waiting for pick up. Or even the hospital scenes. The art direction, set design, costumes, and cinematography are all striking. Director Joe Wright did an excellent giving the film a complete style that fit with the film, and he followed through on.

10. Other performances...I'm not sure whether or not I was impressed with Keira Knightley or James McAvoy's performances. I thought both were good, but neither of them were groundbreaking. Yet their characters don't really have a chance to blow the audience away either with a super dramatic scene. Juno Temple does great with her limited scenes, as does Brenda Blethyn.


Anonymous said...

I liked Atonement but not I love, I prefer Sweeney Todd or No country for old men. Good performances: especially Saorisie Ronan. Good performance by James McAvoy, but I think Emile Hirsch deserves more the nomination. Only bad performance, for me, is Keira Knightley. She gives a mediocre and overshadow performance. Cate Blanchett, Amy Adams, Jodie Foster, Helena bonham Carter and especially Angelina Jolie deserves more the nomination

Anonymous said...

I really enjoyed this film.
I didn't read the novel, but still managed to stay captivated. I thought all the performancs were great, epecially Saorisie Ronan and Vanessa Redgrave. Even though I don't like McAvoy, I thought he was good. The artistics and technical areas of the film were amazing, especially the musical score and art direction. One of the year's finest.