(out of 5)

A classic example of a film that does not equal the sum of its parts. With strong direction, a solid cast, excellent dialogue ( adapted the novel by Ian McEwan), sterling silver-beautiful cinematography, plush period details and a gorgeous musical score, Atonement aims to be its year’s English Patient but is more of a Cold Mountain.  and  play upstairs-downstairs lovers whose one-night affair after years of distant longing is directed towards tragedy by the precocious imagination of her little sister (, later  and ).  A series of unfortunate events and misunderstandings lead the child to believe that McAvoy is the rapist of her teenage cousin, leading towards his incarceration and release into the army during World War II. Where the story goes from here is to spin out of control as the plot focuses sometimes on the couple’s love affair but then decides it’s actually about the young girl’s moral awakening. In the end it’s a shallow experience but a perfectly executed one on the surface; Joe Wright shows much class and style in the telling of the story, but never manages to make the cardboard characters sympathetic or identifiable. Look for cameos by Belgian actor  and the late director .

Universal Pictures, StudioCanal, Relativity Media, Working Title Films

United Kingdom/France, 2007

Directed by Joe Wright

Screenplay by , based on the novel 

Cinematography by 

Produced by , ,

Music by

Production Design by

Costume Design by

Film Editing by

Film Festivals:  TIFF 2007

Academy Award
Best Music (Original Score) (Dario Marianelli)

Best Actress in a Supporting Role (Saoirse Ronan as “Briony Tallis, aged 13”)
Best Art Direction (art direction: Sarah Greenwood; set decoration: Katie Spencer)
Best Cinematography (Seamus McGarvey)
Best Costume Design (Jacqueline Durran)
Best Picture (Tim Bevan, Eric Fellner, Paul Webster, producers)
Best Writing (Adapted Screenplay) (Christopher Hampton)

Golden Globe Awards
Best Motion Picture-Drama
Best Original Score-Motion Picture (Dario Marianelli)

Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture-Drama (Keira Knightley)
Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture-Drama (James McAvoy)
Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role in a Motion Picture (Saoirse Ronan)
Best Director (Joe Wright)
Best Screenplay (Christopher Hampton)



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