Atonement – A Sad Story Beautifully Filmed

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You, must have thought that I am kidding right? Writing a movie review while holidaying in Hong Kong? Cynthia and I just cannot resist not watching a film for a week. On top of that, it is a film with Keira Knightley, a film nominated for the Golden Globe Awards, and a film perhaps yet to be shown in Singapore (or is it over already?).

Where did I watch “Atonement”? None other than the most prestigious IFC mall that is right next to, I believe, the tallest building in Hong Kong – International Finance Centre (IFC). Prestige comes with a whopping price tag of S$15 per seat. Not just any seat, but a full leather seat. I was mildly disappointed with the screen though. It doesn’t seem like a wide-screen format to me. I tried to book online and that was another disappointment. They only accept local credit cards for a transaction lower than HKD 200. D’uh!

“Atonement” is anything but disappointment. It prompts me to think which one is more important: the reality or the story being immortalized by ink and paper. If you do watch “Atonement”, pay attention to the composition of each scene. The scenes are so perfectly composed that it is hard not to look at the film from the artistic angle. There is one particular scene at the beach with soldiers waiting to return home that is not to be missed. It is one long shot (quite possibly a continuous shot but we all know what computers can do these days) with subjects of focus changing swiftly from one to another.  Also, the way that some of the scenes appear ahead of time is, I think, a clever trick that doesn’t seem to get old even when it is done a couple of times throughout the movie.

I have yet to watch “Pride & Prejudice” by Keira Knightley and the same director Joe Wright but I would say “Atonement” is perhaps Keira Knightley’s best performance to date. The original score is innovative by mixing different sounds, such as the typewriter, into the background music (you will see the significance of the typewriter later). In short, if you enjoy watching drama, albeit a sad one, you may like this one.

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