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Actors: Brenda Blethyn - Harriet Walter - James Mcavoy - Keira Knightley - Saoirse Ronan. Director: Joy Wright. Format: DVD. Runtime: 123 Mins. Language: English. Subtitle: English Subtitles. Region code: Region 1 (United States Canada Bermuda U.S. territories). Discs: 1. Rating: R. Genre: Drama. Subgenre: Fantasy. Release Year: 2008.
Director Joe Wright (Pride and Prejudice) gives Ian McEwans bestselling novel a sumptuous treatment for the screen that should come to be regarded as one of the defining films of the epic romantic drama. Indeed, everything about this film stems from those three words: there is little here that is not epic, romantic, and dramatic, and Atonement is a film that masterfully expresses the overarching sense of adventure and emotion that such stories are meant to convey. In this instance, the story centers around the love story of highborn Cecilia Tallis (Keira Knightley) and housekeepers son Robbie Turner (James McAvoy, in a star-making turn), in England shortly before World War II. Despite their class differences, they are powerfully attracted to each other, and just as their relationship begins Robbie is tragically forced away due to false accusations from Cecilias younger sister Briony (Saoirse Ronan). She has a crush on Robbie, too, and after reading a private letter he sent to Cecilia, and then witnessing the first expression of their mutual love but mistaking it for mistreatment, her resentment grows until it leads to her telling the lie that will send Robbie away. Soon World War II breaks out; Robbie enlists and is posted to France, Cecilia is a nurse in London, and Briony, now age 18 and aware of what she has done, tries to atone for her actions--but none of them will be able to get back what they have lost. Knightley and McAvoy are perfectly cast as the young star crossed lovers, and the young Ronan is particularly impressive, but its clear that the real star of this film is the director. Wright allows Atonement to revel in every moment of its story and each scene is compelling in its own way, but that now famous extended shot with Robbie on the beach at Dunkirk--filmed in one take and sure to be considered one of the great long tracking shots in film history--is the most memorable moment in this remarkable film. Atonement is an excellent example of what can happen when a great book meets great filmmaking. This is one that is not to be missed. --Daniel Vancini
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Top Customer Reviews
The cinematography is beautiful and, at some points in the story, is almost a cast member. (If that seems a strange thing to say - witness Robbie's hallucination of his mother at Dunkirk.) The musical score is terrific and does not swamp every scene but, when the music soars, it sets atmosphere as well as I have ever encountered in other movies, if not better.
I thought the casting was perfect. James McAvoy (Robbie) just takes one's breath away. As someone else said - he really is that good, and one can't say more than that. Keira Knightley certainly got a role she could sink her teeth into. Cecelia Tallis is intelligent, passionate, somewhat arrogant at times but, in the end, loving and compassionate. I truly liked this character, both when I read the book and in the movie.Read more ›
This movie is not for everyone, the fighting of war is NOT the major point of this film. Some people will find it slow, while others will find it beautifully paced. The acting is incredible, not over the top and fake, but very believable and moving. The story is captivating, the way it unfolds is mesmerizing, and it will be hard for you to take your eyes off of James Mcavoy, he's that good as Robbie Turner.
If period pieces and romance is something you're interested in, then this is a film for you, if not, then you probably won't enjoy it. For me though, it was easily one of THE best films of the year, and I still can't forget it, even though I saw it almost three months ago.
However, if you like good literature and you like slow-paced, beautiful story-development and breathtaking cinematography, then this is the movie for you.
The acting of all the actors and actresses working on this film is superb. Everyone is perfectly cast and James McAvoy and Keira Knightley are outstanding young actors with very bright futures. Their performances in this film are pitch-perfect.
So, if you want to see a beautifully made, acted and directed movie, then go see this movie. It's literature on film.
Buy it, and stock up on kleenex.
Most recent customer reviews
Should of read more about the movie before I bought it. Threw it out before I even opened it up as it supposedly had swearing and objectionable scenes in it.Published on Aug. 25 2013 by Graceblessed
A very moving, though bleak story. Set against the backdrop of pre-war and WWII, it is beautifully shot, and very powerful. Read morePublished on Sept. 1 2010 by J. Taylor
This was a very good movie, I have been looking for a movie that could hold a candle to Pride and Prejudice.. Read morePublished on Jan. 12 2009 by Shanti
Joe Wright (the BAFTA Award-winning director of Pride & Prejudice), has reunited with his film-making team and his Academy Award-nominated actress, Keira Knightley (one of my... Read morePublished on Nov. 28 2008 by Frances L. Arsenault
I've heard about this movie so many times, mostly bad things about it though. I've wanted to see it for so long, and I finally got the chance. Read morePublished on Aug. 11 2008 by G. Motychko