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Atonement (2007) Movie Review

TVFanatic100 TVFanatic100 Atonement is a gripping drama/romance/war movie, this movie has it all, it has emotional, shocking, and gripping scenes.

A young 13 year old writer, Briony Tallis, changes the courses of several lives when she accuses her older sister's lover of a crime he did not commit. This movie was directed by Joe Wright, who was nominated for a Golden Globe for his work on this film. His most recent film, Pan, was a box office flop and a critically panned film, this film though was nominated for a Best Picture Oscar in 2007.

There are three main characters in this movie, there is Cecelia, her sister Briony, and Cecelia's lover James. This movie has it all, the first half of this movie takes place in the 1930s and its a romantic drama but with a time jump to the early 1940s, it's transformed into a war romance movie in the second half. The first half of the movie, James is wrongly accused of a crime he did not commit. Right before the time jump we see he is arrested. After the time jump, we find out he's in the army. We later find out he's in the army because it was either be in the army or go to prison. I prefer the second half of this movie because its much more intense and emotional, the first half of the movie is a little slow and might bore some viewers.

James and Cecelia in the first half of the movie.
James and Cecelia in the first half of the movie.

The director used a very unique way of telling his story by showing what happened and then showing how each character saw it. I liked how he did this. The character development was weak but for this story, character development wasn't really necessary and I'm glad he focused on other things. Yes the beginning is slow, there is no plot development, and the story is very weak but it does improve in the second half. The cast is great. Kiera Knightley, James McAvoy, Saorise Ronan, and Benedict Cumberbatch round out the excellent cast. James McAvoy gives a very dedicated and emotional performance. Kiera Knightley plays the love interest well and Saorise Ronan gives a powerful child's performance.

At first the romance between James and Cecelia doesn't make sense, they pretty much fall in love instantly. This movie boasts great cinematography and camerawork, and especially on the beach. The long take is hauntingly beautiful. This movie stays on your mind long after the end credits roll, and there are some very memorable scenes. This movie is not the cliche war romance movie, a lot of things happen that are very original. The pacing is also much better in the second half.

James on the beach during WW2 in the second half of the movi
James on the beach during WW2 in the second half of the movie

I feel like they could've left out Briony in the second half of the movie, she just took away screen time from James and Cecelia and they're the main focus of the story. The run-time also would've benefited from this move. Their is some messed up things that you see when the soldiers arrive at the hospital, so you might want to close your eyes if you have a weak stomach. There is also a really well done shocking scene when Briony unravels a patient's head bandage. She sees a horrifying gash in the patients head and the actress plays it perfectly, she tries to keep her composure as she re-wraps the wound but you can tell how close she is to breaking, so kudos to the actress.

There also is another very well done scene when James confronts Briony for accusing him of a crime he did not commit. Then the very ending of this movie, there is another time jump and now Briony is an old women and there is a jaw dropping twist. I recommend watching this movie if you want to see a war/romance movie, it's on Netflix!

Briony as an old women in the very end of the movie.
Briony as an old women in the very end of the movie.
Cinematography 9
Writing 8

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