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An Early Reaction To Joe Wright’s ATONEMENT! McAvoy and Knightley and Redgrave, Oh My!

Hey, everyone. ”Moriarty” here. Second films are important these days for directors because that’s where you start to define yourself. Are you a one-trick pony? Do you have something to say from film to film, with a real voice? I wasn’t crazy about Joe Wright’s PRIDE & PREJUDICE, but many people were. This time out, he’s working from a more contemporary piece of fiction, adapting the Ian McEwan novel that is, honestly, one of those books that is so much about the use of language as it is the story and the characters that it seems unadaptable to me. I think Wright’s going to really have to step up his game as a filmmaker to do justice to this novel. And to be fair, much of what I’m hearing so far is that people like what they’re seeing. Like this guy, for example...

Hey Harry Greetings from rainy Britain! The summer's gloom has been lifted by the new movie 'Atonement' - director Joe Wright's next movie after the successful 'Pride and Prejudice'. I saw a preview yesterday at the Picture House in Stratford upon Avon. The new movie is released on 7th September in the UK and 7th December in the US. I guess from your site you have seen the trailer so you will have a little feel for what it's about. It's based on Ian McEwan's novel of 2001 and spans three time periods. The first is set at an English country house in 1935 when a servant's son Robbie Turner played by James McAvoy (Last King of Scotland) has an affair with the daughter of the house Cecilia (Keira Knightley) and then is wrongly accused by Cecilia's sister Briony of assaulting a younger girl and ends up in prison. We move forward to 1940 France and the defeated British Army's struggle to evacuate from Dunkirk and Robbie's adventures as a soldier. Vanessa Redgrave plays the older version of Briony at the end in 1999. I cannot explain in words just what a fine piece of film-making this is. I was moved, I laughed but most of all gripped by a wonderful story brilliantly played by a superb ensemble cast. The highlight for me is the 5 minute tracking shot following Robbie and his mates along the beach at Dunkirk. It's one of the most powerful scenes I have ever seen and I cried - not something I regularly do in the cinema being a grumpy 51 year old Brit!! I'm crying now just thinking about it. I managed to get on the set last summer when they were filming the country house scenes near where I work. You can see the house here. Hope this is of interest. Maybe you have already received positive reports from other people who saw the preview. I'm going again on Tuesday next week and it's opening the Venice film Festival on 29th August. This site has some great stuff about the movie so check it out. People are talking about Oscars for this one so hope they right as Joe and his crew deserve some reward. Best wishes, Tim King Shrewsbury UK
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