Atonement opens with the clickety-clack of a old 1930’s typewriter, that if you pay really close attention, serves as a huge symbolism later in the story. This is a beautiful, 60-year spanning romantic epic with a twist ending that rivals even The Usual Suspects and The Sixth Sense, and amazing performances from James McAvoy and Keira Knightley, as two doomed lovers, and three excellent performances of the same character by Saoirse Ronan, Romola Garai and Vanessa Redgrave.
Cecelia Tallis is a 22-year old upper-class British woman on the hottest day of 1935, and her 13-year old sister Briony an aspiring writer. Their housekeeper’s son, Robbie Turner, is a childhood friend of Cecelia, is secretly in love with Cecelia, and Cecelia is in love with Robbie. So Robbie accidentally sends a provocative letter to Cecelia, but is read by Briony, and Briony momentarily misinterprets this letter and accuses Robbie of a crime he didn’t commit. Robbie is then sent to prison, and Cecelia is heartbroken.
Flash five years ahead. Robbie is now in the army, Cecelia a nurse, and Briony guilt-ridden over her lie. Robbie and Cecelia have met only once, and neither have talked to Briony, who is also a nurse. But she begins to fully grasp what she did, but is it too late?
This film is really beautiful, and well-done artistically, and many, many great performances. And the final 10 minutes are, well, to sum it up, insane. In a good way. But be prepared to check what you saw, for there’s a lot of twists and turns along the way. But for those who enjoy a beautiful, well-done, intricate film? Look no further. A