Atonement is a mesmerizing romantic drama that keeps your attention to the very end. It contains great performances by Keira Knightley, James McAvoy , and newcomer Saoirse Ronan.
Taking place in England during 1935, a young 13 year old Briony (Ronan) and her older sister Cecilia(Knightley) are staying at there family’s large country estate for the summer. Also visiting is the housekeeper’s son Robbie(McAvoy) who is back from college. Briony has a crush on Robbie, while Cecilia and Robbie both have a sexual attraction to each other that neither have acted on. Robbie decides to tell Cecilia in a letter his true feelings for her, after several drafts he gives the letter to Briony to give to her sister. It is only moments afterwards tha Robbie realizes that the wrong draft was given, and instead a very steamy and inappropriate letter was given. Before giving the letter to her sister Briony reads it a is clearly jealous and fluster at what is in the letter. She comes to the conclusion that Robbie must be a sex addict.
During a dinner party Robbie and Cecilia express their true feelings for each other in a very passionate scene taking place in a study, but only to be interrupted by Briony. Also during the dinner party a rape occurs and Briony accuses Robbie of the attack. He is eventually arrested and is sent to prison. A few years go by and an older Briony must comes to terms with the mistake of her false accusation that has changed the lives of herself and everyone around her.
One thing that really stands out in this movie is the great performances by all the actors. Knightley impresses with her turn in a much more mature role then audiences are used to seeing. She gives one of her best performances and mostly likely memorable. Both James McAvoy and Saoirse Ronan are a breath of fresh air as two new talents that we haven’t seen the last of. But behind every great performance and movie is a great director and that is Joe Wright.
Wright can be considered on of those directors that you have to watch with this being his only second feature film. His first was 2005 Pride and Prejudice which also starred Knightley. The film is beautifully shot and you can tell each scene was carefully planned out to every last detail. I look forward to what his next project will be.
The film for me was one of my favorites from 2007, the storyline just right a way captured me and kept my attention until the climatic end. It is so well done in every aspect its hard not to like it. It’s also not what I had expected at all when first going into it watch it. It’s not your typical love story, in fact its more of a tragic romance in the lines of Romeo and Juliet. If you like those type of films then I don’t see why you wouldn’t love this movie any different. It’s an instant classic that shouldn’t be taken for granted, and is one of the best films that came out in 2007.