Atonement starts off as an average period piece drama, with the well to do Tallis family living the highlife despite the looming spectre of a war with Germany. Thrown in the mix is garden hand and semi adopted son, Robbie, who incidently, is in love with the eldest Tallis daughter, Cecilia.
Trouble is, the younger Tallis daughter, Briony, has a childish crush on Robbie, and doesn’t understand why her older sister should be the one to receive his love.
To get revenge on Robbie for loving her sister she blames a heinous crime on him, not realising what the outcome would be, and the budding relations ship between Robbie and Cecilia is brought to a grinding halt as Robbie is taken away and put in prison.
With the outbreak of World War II, Robbie is forced into the army and fins himself caught up in mess of the Dunkirk evacuations. It’s at this point in the movie that one of the most amazing scenes you’ll likely see in a movie takes place. There is a single shot that takes over five minutes and follows Robbie and his two friends as they wander around the dazed British Army at Dunkirk. In this single moving shot, we witness just about every aspect of the confusion and desperation that was Dunkirk, and it is absolutely breath taking.
Don’t be fooled however as this is not a war movie, it is at heart a romantic drama, one that manages to show off Keira Knightley and James McAvoy’s acting abilities, in a convincing, heart rendering, emotional feast of epic proportions.
For the most part you’ll be lulled into a sense that Atonement is a run of the mill, predictable drama, but in the end you’ll realise that that you’ve just witnessed an incredible love story, whose outcome will stay with you for a long time.
Food for thought
Atonement; the act of atoning for sin or wrongdoing.
Should atonement have a place in our daily routine, or would that make it just a routine?
Reviewed by: Jonathan Read.
Duration: 120 mins.
Genre: Drama, Romance, War.
Actors: Keira Knightley, James McAvoy.
Director: Joe Wright.
Release Date: 18 October 2007.