If you like well-made period movies, with interesting stories and great acting, this is the movie for you. Revolving around the struggle of Sofya Tolstoy to wrestle the family inheritance from an overly devoted student of the Tolstoy movement, the film has wit and heart in developing the relationships. Particularly the loving but exasperated one between Leo and Sofya Tolstoy, played by the always dependable (and indeed brilliant) Christopher Plummer and Helen Mirren.
Reviewed by Blue_No2 for Atonement at 2008-04-14 12:25:33
Beautifully shot and told tale - at once painful to watch and compelling. Very self conscious about the film's interaction with the audience - whether it is the simple use of the typewriter to re-enforce the fact that the written word is the key plot mover in this story to the (over)gorgeous cinematography to represent the Hieronymus Bosch hellhole of Dunkirk. Subtext of war and class, of future and present adds tension and poignancy as movie wears on. The middle section of the movies seems as it were over edited - and ironically by trying to shorten the movie, it causes the story to lose a level of tautness as we struggle to put the pieces together. But highly recommended - but more for a though provoking evening - not a first date.
James McAvoy gives an excellent performance. He is truly one of the best actors around! Kiera Knightly is tolerable. The green dress she wears in the library scene stands out more than she does throughout the entire movie!