Love Story For Sale
Review by Ross Anthony

Atonement Having not enjoyed Pride & Prejudice, I suppose I was expecting not to enjoy "Atonement," much to my chagrin my expectations were met. As fate would have it, my girlfriend wanted to see this film, and I wanted to see her happy, so we took a look.

At the outset of this review, let me balance my negative experience with her positive one. She quite enjoyed it. Further, we ran into two friends at the theatre and they also enjoyed it. So, it looks like I was the odd man out. Nonetheless, I'm the one with the film review site, so you're stuck with my opinion.

Long slow shots without dialogue pepper the production. Often, the camera silently pans a character walking twenty, thirty, sixty feet without a word. Similarly, up close face shots indulge the screen far longer than I'd find point for. So long, in fact, that I remember talking to myself to fill the emptiness, "Why is this shot still on screen? Is there some intense emotion that's supposed to be swelling inside my chest? A lump welling in my neck? If other people are getting it, I'm sure not." That said, the cinematography was quite spectacular it's the editing here I'm talking about. The sound director should also be complemented for taking those empty spaces in the film and giving them as much life as possible. The clicking of the typewriter tapped right into the percussion of the score this is an excellent touch. I loved it. But, it could not make up for what I was missing from the script and pace.

One main character trudges across the European countryside as an accidental soldier, I could find little story point to him being there except as a vehicle to be away from his love. I preferred to have more reason than that. Further, there's almost no character development at all to the lovers and very little description to Keira Knightley's character. I'm a sucker for a good love story, really, but I wasn't sold this love and that's probably why the long shots felt so empty for me.

In large part that sale may have been hampered by the sheer number of impossible coincidences that mount on the first day of events in the film's setting. (Read at your own risk, these are spoilers for the first 30 minutes only) A) The shocking letter is written. B) The letter is intercepted by young girl. C) Lovers kiss for the first time. D) Lovers love for the first time. E) The very same young girl who perchance intercepted the letter, also perchance stumbles upon the lovers loving. F) House guests 1&2 run away. G) House guest 3 is criminalized. H) The very same young girl who both perchance intercepted the shocking letter, and stumbled upon the lovers loving also perchance, haps across the criminalization while in progress. I) The lovers are torn apart by circumstances beyond their control. All on the same day.

Sort of interesting ending though.

-- Book Contest --

  • Atonement. Copyright © 2007.
  • Starring Keira Knightley, James McAvoy, Romola Garai, Brenda Blethyn, Vanessa Redgrave, Saoirse Ronan, Patrick Kennedy, Benedict Cumberbatch, Juno Temple, Peter Wight, Harriet Walter, Michelle Duncan, Gina McKee, Daniel Mays, Nonso Anozie, Felix von Simson.
  • Directed by Joe Wright.
  • Screenplay by Christopher Hampton. Based on the novel by Ian McEwan.
  • Produced by Tim Bevan, Eric Fellner, Paul Webster at Focus/Working Title.

Grade..........................C+ (1/4)

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Copyright © 1998-2023 Ross Anthony, Author - Speaker - Solo World Circumnavigator In addition to reviewing films and interviewing celebs at, traveling the world, composing great music, motivational speaking, Mr. Anthony also runs his own publishing company in the Los Angeles area. While traversing the circumference of the planet writing books and shooting documentaries, Mr. Anthony has taught, presented for, worked &/or played with locals in over 30 countries & 100 cities (Nairobi to Nagasaki). He's bungee-jumped from a bridge near Victoria Falls, wrestled with lions in Zimbabwe, crashed a Vespa off a high mountain road in Taiwan, and ridden a dirt bike across the States (Washington State to Washington DC). To get signed books ("Rodney Appleseed" to "Jinshirou") or schedule Ross to speak check out: or call 1-800-767-7186. Go into the world and inspire the people you meet with your love, kindness, and whatever it is you're really good at. Check out books by Ross Anthony. Rand() functions, Pho chicken soup, rollerblading, and frozen yogurt (w/ blueberries) also rock! (Btw, rand is short for random. It can also stand for "Really Awkward Nutty Dinosaurs" -- which is quite rand, isn't it?) Being alive is the miracle. Special thanks to Ken Kocanda, HAL, Jodie Keszek, Don Haderlein, Mom and Pops, my family, R. Foss, and many others by Ross Anthony. Galati-FE also deserves a shout out. And thanks to all of you for your interest and optimism. Enjoy great films, read stirring novels, grow.

Last Modified: Sunday, 06-Jan-2008 16:51:12 PST