Atonement is one melancholy film that captivates me. It opens in the Tallis castle. Cecilla and Briony, the aristocrat sisters, both have a crush on the house keeper's son Robbie. When the disenchanted young girl Briony made a false statement against Robbie, she did not know her action will bring ruin to Robbie and cause him to be convicted of a crime that he did not commit.
The story fast forward to world war II. The war effort has interrupted their cloistered life and bring down the distance between the aristocrats and lay people. Robbie was send to fight in France. And both sister volunteered to work as nurses. Cecilla and Robbie has a reunion before he was sent off. These brief episodes becomes a yearning that stay with them, with Cece's call to "come back to me" a recurring voice that stay with him.
I have seen the movie about four times and know almost every scene. The Dunkirk retreat scene is a work of mastery. Demoralized soldiers loosing their discipline while waiting for evacuation. Ruins are everywhere. Horses were shot and equipment being destroyed. The whole apocalyptic scene was done in one long sweeping shot.
A lot of scenes are played twice in the movie. Sometimes it shows us something new by looking at things at a different angle. Mostly it offers us plenty of opportunities for retrospection, plenty of what-if contemplation. When we see lovely scenes that we wish would have happened, it brings up great emotional feeling with a lot of depth.
2011.12.25 comments -