Monday, May 19, 2008

I don’t usually write here about movies we watch on DVD, but I thought I would make an exception for Atonement, which we finished watching last night.

Atonement is easily the most beautiful movie I’ve ever seen. I hadn’t seen many comments on it’s cinematography but shot after shot are amazing - they look like paintings from a time when paintings mattered.

I had much more mixed thoughts on the rest of the movie. The performances are quite good, as is the editing and dialogue, but the overall structure of the movie didn’t impress me. The shifting backwards and forwards in time worked well in the first part of the movie, showing the different viewpoints and how they affected what happened, but in the second, darker, half of the movie, it felt more forced and disjointed and also made the characters more of a cipher. I assume some of this criticism actually falls on Ian McEwan’s novel, since this is supposed to be a very faithful adaptation, but if that is the case, the failure is in the adaptation since one of the key responsibilities of a filmmaker working from a novel is to change what is needed to make it work as a film. I will probably pick up the book at some point to see how it works as a novel.