Another non-linear costume period drama, that really has no cohesive story. Which is probably why many critics liked Atonement so much.
Yes it has an ‘atypical’ non-James Horner score, odd pacing and pretty costumes. But that’s about it.
As far as the acting, no one really impressed me, as they really did not have a lot to do. I mean the performances were fine just a lot of sighing and repression, staring and kissing with Keira Knightly and James McAvoy.
As to the plot?
First Atonement is a really slow Forrester-esque type English countryside piece. Then some hateful little moppet rears her ugly, lying head to cast ruin on those around her and proving that pre-pubescent girls are EVIL, making it mystery.
Then it is a war story, and then love story, and no wait war, and then finally the grown moppet-now old woman tells the truth.
Like enough already! The director tried to get his English Patient on, failed; attempted to blend too many genres and I do not think he did even one exceptionally well.
Yes the DP and Cinematographer did nice jobs. It’s easy to put a pretty costume on Keira Knightly; war is dirty and smoky; unfulfilled love and longing are sad and beautiful. Just too art house trying way too hard to be this deep love story chick flick.
Final Snark: At time pretty, and mostly boring.