| Atonement (2007) |
After reading a brief synopsis of this film, while trying to decide what to see at the theatre, I was very intrigued by Joe Wright's Atonement, based on the novel by Ian McEwan. I was not disappointed at all by what I saw.
Essentially a 13 year old girl called Briony, who writes plays around the time of World War 2, changes the course of several lives when she commits a despicable act of deviousness. Like many teenage girls she has about as much grip on reality as a hand in carbon monoxide. She fantasises. After seeing the boyfriend of her sister (played very well by Keira Knightley, who really is improving her in roles) interact in ways unknown to her, she ultimately accuses him of molesting her friend.
It seemed even in those days - the days prior to the beginning of the so-called 'woman's movement' - men were as good as guilty when accused of such crimes - crimes worse than murder.
This movie portrays virtually every male character, bar the man who did in fact molest a girl, (not shown and he actually married her) in a positive light. Robbie, the accused boyfriend who becomes a soldier abroad, is played to perfection by Scottish actor James Macavoy (Last King of Scotland and the Mr. Tumnus guy from Chronicles of Narnia), who is shown interacting with Knightley's character in precisely the way that is natural for two young people of the opposite sex. The highly erotic library scene is proof of the natural attraction between boy and girl that Briony begins to understand after realising her astronomical error of judgement.
Knightley is shown as a very kind and strong woman. What really shocked me was how she knew to the point of certainty that Robbie was innocent and treats him extremely well to the very end and ostracises her sister as well. Briony's tremendous guilt is conveyed in her two later stages in life.
Overall this is one of the most male-positive films I have ever seen and carries such a profound message. The sheer rage and suffering the accusation brings to Robbie and the dramatic irony need to be shown for all to see in an age where so many rape accusations are false - maybe over 90% of them.
A truly magnificent interpretation of a fantastic novel.
Reviewed by: Mr. Doesn'tgiveaDamn
Rated: R in USA, 15 in UK, 14A in Canada and 15 in the UK due to disturbing war scenes, foul language and sexuality.
Duration: 2 hours and 10 minutes