Thursday, September 20, 2007

Atonement the Movie

I never read the novel (Ian McEwan is a bit sickly for my taste - and not a great stylist) but I found the recent movie totally bogus and contrived; an unconvincing artifice. Let me count the ways.

While I have no doubt that cunnilingus existed before 1935, I'm not so sure that our protagonist would ever have dreamt of making a written reference to it in that era (Lady Chatterley notwithstanding) - even for his own delectation. It seemed more like an anachronistic device to add a bit of spice to McEwan's stodgy story. Thus the basic plot contrivance seemed psychologically improbable. Also, the whole bit about the author using the book to give the wronged characters the life they never had does not seem like atonement. Rather it added being gruesomely patronising to Briony's previous sins.

Of course the recreation of stately home life was wonderful, and the much maligned Keira Knightly was perfect for the part of the English rose ready to unfurl. I also liked the romantic use made of the white cliffs of Dover. However, the scenes at Dunkirk seemed tacked on and the score throughout was too intrusive - and unsympathetic to the action.