This is going to be quick because work's going to be nightmarishly busy today and I have to get on it before it all builds to a hellish crescendo in the afternoon, but I do feel the need to get this out whilst fresh on my brain: I saw Atonement last night and... hmm. A beautiful, beautiful movie. Really lovely to behold.
But I mean that in the eye-catching sense. Cuz... well, I found it hopelessly empty. I never felt as if I was watching real, living, breathing people. I felt like I was watching art-direction. James McAvoy and the two younger Brionys certainly tried their damndest to make me care, and I give them props for supporting their paper-thin characters with some very fine, if briefly realized, work. But... the entire story was easily condensed into the trailer. I had never read the book, and there was nothing, plot-wise, that surprised me, involved me, beyond what I knew from the trailer. And instead of filling up the running time with, I dunno, more character development, we got a run of, again, very very pretty images that, for me, added up to a lot of pretty images that never got around to affecting me on an emotional level.
Keira... well, director Joe Wright certainly loves her anorexic-bulldog's face, don't he? Listen, I have much less against Keira than I'd like to in theory: I thought she was fantastic in Pride & Prejudice and the only person doing anything interesting in the second Pirates film (haven't seen the 3rd yet). But here she was window dressing. Great-to-gaze-upon window dressing, sure. But I never felt like this was a real girl here.
I am glad I saw it on the big screen. Hell, that extended shot on the war-ravaged beach was worth the price of admission. And I found myself pulled even more under the spell of those ginormous blue orbs James McAvoy calls eyes. But devastating? Hardly. And that last act reveal, that (spoiler) all the actual romance we've seen has been filled in by Briony's imagination as she tells their tale only served to make me even more detached from any emotional investment I might've had. Sure, their "truth," that they never were given their moment together, is heart-breaking, or might've been if I thought of these characters as people. Instead I found it as meaningful as that suddenly revealed hole in James McAvoy's chest (i.e. heart, i.e. subtle, that) - an image, divorced from its human implications but lit by a really lovingly captured sunrise.