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Atonement
DVD disk
Apr 9, 2008 By: Quigles
Atonement order
Director:
Joe Wright

Actors:
Keira Knightley
James McAvoy
Saoirse Ronan

Rating:
Movie:
Extras:
Overall:

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WHAT'S IT ABOUT?
Jealous over her sister's affair, a young girl accuses a man of a crime he didn't commit and it changes their lives forever.
IS IT A GOOD MOVIE?
As much as I may find myself immediately put off by anything resembling yet another war-torn period drama (particularly those starring Keira Knightley, who on average appears to show up in at least three a year), I must admit ATONEMENT dashed away my preset notions to grab my pillow and prepare for an all-out snoozefest just as soon as the words "lick your sweet wet c**t" filled up the screen. Of course, that's not all that warrants discussion about the film, as there's also plenty of pedophilia and rape accusations to keep things moving as well. Oh, and I guess the cinematography, music, direction, and acting are pretty good, too.

Joking aside, ATONEMENT's technical merits far surpass those of its narrative, which despite offering a superb first half, eventually begins to wane somewhat once the backdrop changes. Whereas the film's later scenes feel mostly like a necessity to progress to the gut-punch of a twist ending (which some viewers may love, or others may despise), the early sequences deliver a stellar balance of crafty filmmaking and strong character delivery. Some of the most effective stylistic traits include alternating POV's of the three characters and the use of typewriter sound effects to act as a sort of percussion for the phenomenal score.

With so many cool elements being put into effect, I often found the film to be alluring even when the story had little of interest to offer, such as with the gorgeously filmed single-take shot with McAvoy traversing the beach during wartime. So if you appreciate the art of filmmaking, and are in the mood for a rather different type of period piece, ATONEMENT makes for a worthy viewing, even if it's not necessarily as amazing as everybody has made it out to be.
THE EXTRAS
Expect a much more complete "special edition" sometime down the line.

Commentary (with director Joe Wright): On a scale of "interesting" to "boring," this track should score equal to that of your thoughts on the movie.

Bringing the Past to Life: The Making of Atonement (26:00): Insightful and loaded with interviews.

From Novel To Screen: Adapting a Classic (5:00): Far too short to be fully enlightening.

Deleted Scenes (7:30 - with optional commentary): Rightfully excised scenes. They would've slowed down the pace.
FINAL DIAGNOSIS
Those expecting a beautiful, heart-wrenching romance between Keira Knightley and James McAvoy to fill up the running time of ATONEMENT will no doubt be disappointed, as they're not who the film's really about. Keeping that in mind, the film manages to impress all the same, presenting a fascinating first act that's held together through the acts following by truly terrific filmmaking.
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