Saturday, May 2, 2009

The Atonement

Media: Movie
Genre: Fiction

This post is about the movie made by Joe Wright on the novel by the same name from Ian McEwan. The views expressed are solely based on the visual depiction as the author is blissfully unaware of how true a rendition of the book the screenplay is.

I got this movie issued last week from the library. The movie section at Yale's BASS library boasts of a small yet excellent collection of new and old English movies (with some crossover cinema ---couldn't think of an alternative to this awful and widely used word --- thrown in here and there). Besides, if the DVD cover boasts of some academy award nominations/awards, it may serve to boost the confidence of the viewer and this one had a golden globe for best movie to its credit in 2008. (Though the last test doesn't always work as I discovered in the case of American Beauty :-X ).

This movie is set in the backdrop of a British country estate before and during the period of World War II. The story revolves around three main characters - Cecilia, Briony and Robbie. Briony is a fledgling teenage writer who gets jealous of a passionate romance between her beautiful elder sister Cecilia and her childhood crush Robbie - the housekeeper's suave, Cambridge-educated son. Her jealousy drives her to tell a lie which changes the lives of all three characters irrevocably.

The movie has a taut screenplay, which develops and catches pace as the movie evolves. The director uses the clever trick of first showing a compelling visual at a dramatic turn and then depicts the sequence of events leading up to it. It has a desired effect in most places but makes the narrative confusing at some others.

You might be thinking that I would really be recommending this movie to everyone. Well..yes and no. Cinematically, it is of course a unique presentation of a unique story and the viewer revels in the richness of exposition of the characters. But me being a lover of Hindi movies believes in happy endings (gullible me - at least I am honest!) - so at that front it might fail as it makes you sad, really sad.

Nonetheless, why I thought of writing about this movie on the blog was the deep influence it exercises on you through Briony. You can almost feel the stifling existence she practices bearing the penance of her lie in form of a lifelong guilt. The screenplay conveys both her imagination and existence perspicaciously to the viewer.

I am still not sure whether I want to read the book!

1 comment:

  1. I think most people believe in happy endings..:)

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