Atonement is one of these films. It has everything going for it. An interesting script from a book that is already famous. A tragic love story, a misunderstanding that complicates everything, a war to make things even more dramatic and still the script doesn’t manage to get you really involved. Directing is well done. It even has an interesting idea. In the beginning it shows the story form the point of view of both sisters. In this way it is very clear from the beginning the tragic confusion that spears the narrative of the film. On the other hand, it might have been a more compelling film if everything was not thus so well explained. If for example we watched all the film through the point vies of the little sister. I this way there would be a small mystery on why the elder sister is so much in favor of the man. Is she in love with a rapist, how can that be? As the little girl grows up and gets a better understanding of the situation the spectator would come to understand the truth with her. In this case though Keira Knightley would have a far smaller part and those who went to see the film just for her would be heavily disappointed.
All actors have done an excellent work and that is probably the most important plus of the film. Vanessa Redgrave as the elder Briony (younger sister) proves that even few minutes are enough for an actor to prove himself. Saoirse Ronan is also very good, even her competence has been overstated due to her youth. Still there too many scenes during the film that the actors have a mesmerized look on their faces. First the young Briony, then Cecilia confronting the tragic events and then again when Briony realizes what she had done. You don’t notice while watching the film but when remembering it you come up with too many scenes that different actors have the exactly same blank expression on their faces. Considering this I can only reach the conclusion that it must have been some guide line given form the director. To say nothing more it was a directing that ruined some parts of an overall successful acting.
In conclusion Atonement doesn’t manage to take the extra step that would carry it from being another without spirit
I am in love with the green gown that Keira Knightley wears in the most crucial scene of the film. It was dress that advertised the film all by itself. On the other hand, if you end up commenting the dress in a film, the film is probably a lost cause.