“I am very, very sorry for the terrible distress that I have caused you. I am very, very sorry…”
Plot: Fledgling writer Briony Tallis, as a 13-year-old, irrevocably changes the course of several lives when she accuses her older sister’s lover of a crime he did not commit. Based on the British romance novel by Ian McEwan.
I enjoyed Atonement. I had no idea what the storyline was even about, and going in blind is always entertaining. It has a heartbreaking story and ending, and you can’t help feeling like crap because you’ve had a much better life than anyone involved in there.
The characters had real depth and the actors were well able to keep you dedicated to watching the movie to the end. I was really excited to see Benedict Cumberbatch around and he is as great as always, although his character was reprehensible. I also got to see some more James McAvoy, and I am currently a huge fan of him after watching Days of Future Past. He is fascinating and lives himself into a character completely. He was so sweet and happy and got up to such ridiculous things – I knew his letter writing exercise would blow up in his face in the end and it did quite entertainingly.
Kiera Knightley plays a character that you eventually just feel sorry for – she lost what she had just found and could never really get on with her life after that. She was first the girl who loved someone beneath her class, then the second she made peace with her feelings it was taken away from her so badly, and her life turned out in a way that she never would have guessed.
James McAvoy as the male lead in Atonement had me fangirling again. I discovered him only last year when I watched X-men: Days of Future Past, and right now the man can do no wrong in my eyes. He is an incomparable actor with great talent and he really makes you understand the depth of who he portrays. It was wonderful seeing him in a role where he is a straight laced guy – his roles are often of incredibly broken men (not that his character had it any easier in here than he had as Professor X)
Saoirse Ronan as a little girl was an amazing actress. She very nearly stole the show because she makes you understand that she is a sensitive, inquisitive young girl. I was so mad at what she did because I fully believe that it is not something a man can ever outlive, but then eventually had to sympathize with her because she acknowledged she was very young and had no idea what the consequences of her incorrect evidence would have.
The interesting chronological order of Atonement made you pay attention. Most movies follow the expected formula of moving forward. I enjoyed Atonement because you were taken back in time frequently and could not know when it would happen.
The movie is masterfully directed to make you fully understand the tragic lives of all the people who suffered from Briony’s horrific mistakes. Even when Briony realizes she was wrong, which is pretty much immediately, the damage is done and she has caused a great deal of people in her life incredible amounts of pain and injustice.
Atonement is a strong and poignant movie with excellent directing, and it carries a message of great importance – to be 110% sure before you accuse someone for an unforgivable crime, because you are never ruining only one life in the process.