Finally came here, finally saw it, so here goes: My feelings on Atonement are quite mixed, really. But before I get into that, here’s the rundown: Robbie (James McAvoy) and Cecilia (Keira Knightley) are in love. Cecilia’s little sister Briony (Saoirse Ronan), in a fit of (supposed) jealousy and rage, accuses Robbie of a major crime he didn’t actually commit. This lie disrupts everybody’s lives, which are sent into disarray, making Briony grow up trying to be forgiven for what she did.

It’s really that simple. I also say supposed jealousy, because she at one point admits to having had a crush on Robbie, so I just figured that had something to do with it. But anyway, to the review. I enjoyed the first act (pre-war) of the movie the most. Saoirse Ronan was utterly engaging (those eyes were just captivating). Just everything that occurred in that first act made for some good drama and entertainment. The second act (war and 18-year-old Briony) started to lose me. It wasn’t bad; it just didn’t keep me nearly as entertained as the first act. The quite short third act (future Briony) was just bizarre, taking a big turn with a not-so-surprising reveal (I was already raising my eyebrow to the fact it was 3 weeks in the past during act two and Robbie was home from the war).

I really loved the rewinding and re-showing of scenes from different perspectives, but after the first act, that really slowed to a halt. Yet another reason I liked the first act the most.

As far as acting is concerned, Saoirse Ronan did amazingly well. Keira Knightley was okay, as was James McAvoy. However, I really wasn’t feeling the romance part of the story, which is really bad considering the movie is centered around their romance. I never cared if Robbie and Cecilia would ever get back with each other, nor did I really care if they would end up with each other in the first place. I felt almost no chemistry between them. Let me put it this way, I felt about 20x more chemistry between Dane Cook and Jessica Alba in Good Luck Chuck than I felt between these two. As for the character of Briony, Saoirse’s version was the best version. I didn’t give a hoot about the 18-year-old version, or really even the old version at the end. Neither were even close to being as captivating or watchable.

However, there were some excellent, excellent things about this movie. For starters, the music was amazing. I loved how, at least half the time, the props or noises from the sets ended up adding to the music (such as opening a door, lighting a cigarette lighter, or banging on the police car). Then, of course, the typewriter was the best. But on top of the music, the movie was visually stunning, as well, especially in the first act. However, after the first act ends, the movie seems to be more selective where it wants to be pretty or artsy. The most notable parts from the war sequence were walking down the grass and seeing the planes fly by in the stream next to them, and, obviously, the nearly five minute continuous shot on the beach. The last real cool shot of the movie was seeing 18-year-old Briony on what I’m assuming to be a train, and the lights flickering on her face.

Personally, I believe the music and the visuals make up for some of the issues, much like how the visuals of The Assassination of Jesse James made it a better movie for all its flaws. It’s a difficult movie to score, honestly, but I suppose I have to give it something…

A Keanu 'Whoa'

(P.S. Is a woman really going to keep the exact same haircut for her entire life? Seriously now...)

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