Friday, January 18

Movie Review, kinda sorta...Atonement

Just some thoughts after having just seen it tonight, and no spoilers. I imagine many have read the book which I have not. I generally don't see movies when I love the book. But that's just me.

I'm absolutely convinced they wanted Russell Crowe for the lead of this movie, and then they met him and found out he was too damn old, so some "producers" flew down to Australia, stole one of Russell's ribs while he slept, and brought it back to the magic of Burbank to create the young hott James McAvoy. The trick worked.

For my friend the continuity person, there is a major gaffe when Keira Knightley has sex standing up against a wall of books in the library (geek monkey love alert) the guy lifts her out of one of her shoes. Later the shoe has jumped back on her foot in a way that says the shoe is male and just desperately wants to be up against her, which I totally understand.

The Dunkirk scene will be shown in film schools for a long time to come. It's two parts Gone with the Wind:

Then watch the first half hour of Saving Private Ryan while eating three pills of whatever pharma Terri Gilliam is on, and stir in what can be done with a tracking camera and computer-mixed sound these days and "can you spell Best Oscar Nod, Ryan Seacrest?" "Oh yes, Regis, the Academy loves movies like this one."

It should win for set design. The English country house omg you can smell the tea...yeah, set designers clearly had a huge budget and little restraint and did a fine job with the chintz and the WWII British hospitals and the war scenes, too.

As I said I won't spoil this movie for anyone, and I think I can still say that the grand things this film says about the power of narrative to transform reality are, in my very humble opinion,

a buncha BS.

I say that as a writer. I was actually offended by what this movie says about the writerly act, and I'm really, really hard to offend, trust me. If you want to chat about this film let me know but don't leave any spoilers in comments. Thanks.


  1. The reason I chose not to see the film was that I felt that McEwan's point (about narrative and the whole act of writing) in the novel could never be transferred onto film. (oh and I find Keira ridiculously irritating).

    So I am in no position to agree or disagree with you about the point made by the film ....

  2. The only reason I go to movies like this is to have a good cry. And, trust me, it's not that hard to accomplish. Television commercials with talking animals will generally do it.
    This movie? nada. Overwrought and no tears? What's the point?

  3. Haven't seen the movie yet but, as a Scot, I am delighted to find our young James is 'hot' right now. (in all the senses of the word)
    Having seen him in 'The Last King of Scotland' and a brilliant TV adaptation of Macbeth I'd have to agreee that he has an intensity and commitment in his performances that echoes that of Mr Crowe but I'd say the big Aussie edges it...for now. Look out though Russell the Scots are coming!
    Agreed on the high irritation factor of Ms Knightly but I will make the effort gotta support the home team!

  4. 'Standing up against a wall of books'...?

    Hope they were softcover.


  5. lolol....good point *grin*

  6. Anonymous1:38 PM

    Take my word for it: read the novel.

  7. BG, I'll be happy to chat about it - and I'll write about the film later for my annual roundup. (I still need to read the book, but my stack is pretty dangerously tall right now.)

    I'll say this here, though, without any spoilers - my feeling was that Atonement was making a statement about this particular narrative versus all narratves. But feel free to write...

  8. Anonymous3:51 AM

    Atonement was a great flick; it looked and felt a lot like Pride and Prejudice... come to think of it, both movies have the same director, leading lady, both are based on books and both take place in England


I really look forward to hearing what you have to say. I do moderate comments, but non-spam comments will take less than 24 hours to appear... Thanks!