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A Boring Atonement

Published December 6, 2007 in Movie Reviews
By Fred Topel | Image property of Focus Features.
Atonement Poster Atonement
Atonement has significant themes, tragic circumstances and profound lessons on life and personal responsibility. It's sooooooo booooooring. I just can't take these British people and their historical drama.

Review: Atonement


Through a series of misunderstandings, 13-year-old Briony accuses Robbie (James McAvoy) of molesting some kids. He's sent to jail and then the army, kept away from his true love Cecilia (Keira Knightly), Briony's sister. Will the lovebirds reunite? Can Briony atone for her sins later in life?

First of all, the misunderstandings are so contrived it's annoying. One of them involves Robbie accidentally sending an obscene note via Briony to Cecilia. Come on, nobody accidentally sends their profane typings and leaves the hand written love note on the desk.

They show different points of view on incidents to show what Briony sees and what really happened, but come on. This isn't Rashomon. Just explain the mix-up. And Cecilia could have spoken up. She's either vague or mute, so she's no help to her man.



The lives of these people seem so boring too. Briony is putting on a play and making her cousins act in it. Thank God someone invented TV. Rich Brits talk about business and politics while they lounge around. At least the lovers were getting' somethin' goin' on.

The film begs to be more intense than it is with an obtrusive musical score. If the operatic strings swelling up weren't enough emotional indication, the clackity clack typewriter rhythm feels desperate. They're trying to make this banal existence important.

It takes more than 90 minutes for anyone to realize that Briony can always clear up her testimony once she's older. By then, they'd rather revel in their drama than just fix things and get on with life.

There are some epic tracking shots of the battlefield aftermath. That's some high production value. Who cares? Gory war wounds, yeah, war sucks. The corset and frills crowd will love every second of this but it is exactly what it looks like. The porno version of this should be Abonement or Analtonement.


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Compiled By (Sources)
Fred Topel
Sources: Image property of Focus Features.
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