Friday, December 5, 2008

ATONEMENT (Joe Wright, 2007, UK) ATONEMENT is a boring pretentious British drama, the kind of pseudo-important film that the Academy honors with nominations and awards. This review doesn't contain any spoiler because you've guessed them all anyway even if you know nothing about the novel! This is a by-the-book rich girl and servant boy love story with a dramatic "twist" that is as emotionally fallacious as the ending monologue. The first dreary fifty minutes introduces us to the characters that become cardboard figures moving through a story; we never become intimate or involved with anyone. The last half of the film is pure manipulation as Wright assumes we must love the beautiful people in his film; it takes more than one (half) screw and hand holding to convince me that Robbie and Cecelia are totally in love. He also shows us the soldier's gory wounds so we can't forget we are watching an important historical drama, but we're not all that dumb, are we? There are a few qualities of this film that I enjoyed beyond the story such as the grand cinematography; at least this vacant film was pretty to watch. I also like the click-clack typewriter score that blurred the line between what we are seeing and what Briony fictionalizes. The ending was unworthy of even this mediocrity. The only atonement is in the title. (C-)

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