Finally got to see the movie adaptation of Ian McEwan’s novel ‘Atonement’ and it really lived up to my high expectations.
With only his second full length feature, English director Joe Wright follows his bold makeover of ‘Pride & Prejudice’ with a film that works on every level.
It’s a book that didn’t wow me but after seeing this movie I think the fault lies with my superficial reading rather than McEwan.
Keira Knightley(Cecilia Tallis) is sexy and sultry – James McAvoy (Robbie Turner) was great in ‘The Last King of Scotland‘ and is equally good here.
The casting of Briony Tallis at ages 13 (Saoirse Ronan) & 18 (Ramola Garai) is perfect and sets up the moving closing cameo from Vanessa Redgrave as an older Briony .
The music by the young Italian composer, Dario Marianelli, creates just the right atmosphere – the piano pieces (and the clacking typewriter effects) reminded me of Max Richter’s sublime ‘The Blue Notebook’.
The screenplay by Christopher Hampton recreates McEwan’s precise use of language but it is the voiceless looks and small gestures Wright captures, particularly in the first part of the movie at the country house, which are really memorable.
This is where cinema works its magic – enabling a small action like the crushing of a flower in the hand to take on a poetic weight.
A marvellous movie.