New review from Movie Man Mike
Atonement (A). This is a powerful film. The acting is superb. The story is about an untoward event that takes place, a young child’s actions in response to the event, and the consequences of the child’s actions upon the people she cares about. It’s also about her coming to terms with her own guilt for her actions. Briony Tallis—the young child—is played by three different actresses, Saoirse Ronan (age 13) (The Grand Budapest Hotel), Romola Garai (I Capture the Castle) (age 18), and Vanessa Redgrave (a much older Briony). Each actress does a beautiful job of bringing this character to life, but I have to say that Redgrave just about steals the show with her final 8 minutes or so on the screen. She is simply fantastic. James McAvoy (The Last King of Scotland) as Robbie Turner and Keira Knightley (Begin Again) as Cecelia Tallis are each beautiful to look at and wonderful in their respective roles. Benedict Cumberbatch (Star Trek Into Darkness) plays a chocolate factory magnate whose performance is right on. The only scene I take issue with was a minor scene involving Robbie’s mother, Grace, where she is protesting the arrest of Robbie. I don’t think this scene was staged quite right because I just didn’t feel it. Otherwise, the film is beautifully directed and scripted. Although the film is a bit emotionally heavy, it’s one you ought to see.