Atonement ★★★★½

I think it's a little harsh to call this "Sadness: The Movie". Whilst it is hard hitting and can easily tear you apart emotionally, I believe there is more to this story than just heart string tugs.

This film employs the correct procedure for a tonal shift, where it is gradual, rather than sudden and off putting. It's partly a comedy at the start, full of unexpectedly memorable moments. This less than serious tone suits the story, giving the audience the necessary tools to understand later events. Additionally the use of non linear storytelling throughout the entire plot provides a key element to the story that in my mind elevates it beyond a simple, lazy Oscar Bait film.

Having said that there were times where I felt that Joe Wright was really going for that Best Picture win. Regardless, this fit in well with the story, supplying the audience with an insight into the mental state of the main characters.

Speaking of, one criticism that I would not be surprised by reading would be that there isn't enough characterisation for all the players involved. I think this is probably a fair comment, yet ultimately I would disagree purely due to the fact that this is a well paced film that doesn't allow itself to slow down and give us boring backstory. The characters are defined by their actions, and even though it's not as thorough as it could be, the story still works.

Apart from the aforementioned criticisms, I can't think of many things wrong with it. The score is really good, and very creative, the performances were outstanding (McAvoy was snubbed, why can't he be in more films like this), cinematography was great, Dunkirk scene especially. That scene was fantastic, not only must it have taken probably an entire day to set up, but that entire section of the plot had so much weight and meaning. Bloody great film, may not be everyone's cup of tea though.

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