Saturday, February 9, 2008

A bit of atonement really is due

Todd and I went to see Atonement tonight. I had heard mixed things about it, but since I need to catch up before the Oscars later this month--especially now that it looks like the ceremony really will go off without a hitch--I decided to give it a shot. I read the Ian McEwan book a couple of years ago and liked but didn't love it. It was a bit slow, and I wasn't totally taken with the somewhat surprising final act.

The film is faithful, as far as my memory serves, to the book: the plot and structure are both just as McEwan created. The pacing, too, is like the book's, but to the nth degree. As slow as the book was, the movie was slower. See how bored Keira Knightley looks in that poster? Maybe the picture was snapped as she suffered through her own marathon snoozefest of a movie.

The fault definitely doesn't lie with either of the stars, both of whom I think did well with what they were given. But the inherent limitations in the way the story is told--through the eyes and imagination of a child--simply make for an unsatisfying movie. And director Joe Wright relies on a heavy-handedness that borderlines on insulting. Oscar noms or not, this one's a dud.


Tina said...

The Brit press is all abuzz with word that the lovely Ms Knightly didn't take the BAFTA last night, in favor of the French beauty from La Vie en Rose. Guess the judges couldn't keep their eyes open, either. Guess I know which one I'll go see now, huh?

Tori said...

Did I read correctly that Atonement did take the BAFTA for best film, though? I guess someone on that side of the pond likes it.

I haven't seen La Vie... yet, but I heard it's wonderful.