Saturday, September 22, 2007

Atonement: The Film

It's been almost an entire month since I last made an entry here... but I finally saw Atonement and I felt it necessary to add my two cents. Look for more frequent entries once I get back yo uni and get the internet connected there (about three weeks, I'm guessing).

As I said before, the novel Atonement (which, let's be honest, I only read because they were making a film out of it) was so beautiful and heartbreaking I wasn't even sure if I could sit through seeing it on-screen. But what the film left on me was a rather dull feeling of indifference: sure, it was moving, well-made, superbly acted- but it didn't make me feel as much as it should have. When it got to the portion of the film where Robbie (James McAvoy) is trudging his way across a war-strewn France, I kept thinking 'I hope they've cut it down, I hope they've cut it down'- which they had, and that didn't fit with me- it's not that I hated that part, it's that it was SO difficult to read and deal with that I didn't want to have to deal with it again. But, the problem is, Atonement NEEDS that, and it NEEDS the difficulty of Briony's (Romola Garai at this point) work as a nurse dealing with horrifically injured soldiers, because that's what makes the shattering ending work all the more. But Atonement, at this point, feels truncated, and I just felt my emotions drifting away, wishing this was the book instead, and wishing I could cry again when the ending came.

I can't be harsh on the film- all the acting (besides, surprisingly, Vanessa Redgrave- her coda doesn't work at all) is superb, particularly McAvoy and Garai. The costume and make-up work is exemplary (I loved how Redgrave looked almost exactly like Saoirse Ronan and Garai, with the same hair-cut and a dress that looked too big- as if she'd never moved past her childhood crime, which, of course, she hadn't), the direction is strong and the music beautiful. But it's not the masterpiece I so desperately wanted it to be, and that's why my words are more negative that my grade of B+ implies.

2 comments:

Kamikaze Camel said...

Glad to see you back. Am looking forward to Atonement very much.

Does you sidebar imply you liked This Delicate Thing We've Made?

Dave said...

Thank you! Missed me, did ya? ;)

You could say that, yes. I've listened to both Neverland and Casey so much I could probably sing them backwards.