|Atonement (2008, HD DVD) *Brand New Sealed*|
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There is more than one atonement in this movie.
Taking place before and during WWII in England, it begins with an uppercrust English family with 3 children. Leon and Cecilia (Keira Knightley) are grown but living at home. Briony is young (about 10 or 11) and already a budding novelist. Briony accidentally walks in the library and sees Cecilia having sex with the young gardener Robbie(James McAvoy) after she has already spied them in a compromising position in a water fountain and after she has delivered a lewd note from Robbie to Cecilia. Briony is horrified about all of this. And she exposes Robbie for another crime that later takes place--even though she knows that he did not cause it. This is the first and main atonement.
The second atonement is Robbie's penance for sending the lewd note by mistake. He had typed the lewd note and handwritten a more appropriate love note to Cecilia but accidentally sent her the lewd one. Because of this one mistake, he experiences prison and wartime in France during WWII.
This tragic love story is beautifully photographed and lovingly scored. In fact it won the Oscar for Best Scoring and was nominated for Best Picture. It would have been a much better choice for Best Picture than the one that won ("No Country for Old Men").
There are three actresses playing Briony, as she is really the main character, and she grows to old age in the movie. Two unknowns--Saoire Ronan and Romolai Garai--play her as a child and young adult, and Vanessa Redgrave appears at the end of the movie to explain the finale. The similarity among the three is extraordinary. An award for makeup and casting should have been given.
This movie is wonderfully entertaining. There are also 2 special features that tell how it was made and review the plot. Very good viewing!
Like many of 2007's Best Picture nominees at the Academy Awards, "Atonement" strays from fairness and light into the gritty dimness of realism. Director Joe Wright delivers a period love story that includes all the hellishness of war.
The cast, from superstars Keira Knightley and James McAvoy to relative unknowns Saoirse Ronan and Romola Garai (who both portray Briony), plum the deepest reserves of emotion to deliver standout performances. Film buffs, too, can watch for Wright's masterful direction, including a five-minute-plus tracking shot along Dunkirk Beach.
"Atonement" was nominated for, and won, Best Score, and rightly so. Composer Dario Marianelli integrates a typewriter into the music — likely one of the most inspired musical choices in decades.
Did "Atonement" deserve Best Picture? For all its laudable characteristics, the film does have its flaws, including the final act, which seems to take the viewer completely out of the action. In this case, the film's nomination was its prize, and surely one that will make the film memorable for years to come.
When young Briony Tallis sees and hears something she doesn't understand, it starts in motion a series of events that would have profound effects on many lives, especially that of her sister Cecilia and her sister's would-be lover, Robbie. Briony spends her whole life making good on the error of that fateful day, which is set in World War II era Britain. Excellent performances by James McAvoy, Keira Knightley and Sairose Ronan make the movie, although only Ronan was deemed worth of an Oscar nod, but no win. She shouldn't feel bad as the director wasn't even nominated, but should have been, the scenes of war-torn Europe including a spectacular panoramic beach scene at France are worth the price of the movie. There is something for everyone here, even though it's touted as a romance, it's much more than a classic "chick flick" And for the Keira fans like me, the scene with Knightley in the green dress, goes down as one of the iconic cinematic images of the 21st century, for me anyway. Whoa! Buy it. 8/10
"Atonement" on blu ray is absolutely gorgeous to watch and is incredibly true to the novel upon which it is based. Outstanding acting, compelling story line, beautiful cinematography and costumes combined with an unexpected ending make this tragic love story an Oscar-worthy film that should have won "best picture" the year it was nominated. Fans of Keira Knightly and James McAvoy won't be disappointed. Viewers should expect to encounter adult language and graphic war scenes.
The film starts off as a slow-burn, finely honed British ensemble piece in the best tradition of classic cinema. Little by little, however, the whole thing begins to assume greater weight as the canvas expands, and what starts out as a rather typical English country yarn turns into a piece of almost epic proportions.
A stunning looking Keira Knightley turns in a fine performance, as do the rest of the cast. Particularly impressive was the later adult casting for the childrens' roles, which lent a high degree of credibilty to to the film.
The production was altogether faultless, from the very typical interiors of the period to the devastating war damage.
If you love well paced, finely acted English drama on the big screen this is definitely one to go for.