When Briony Tallis (Saoirse Ronan), thirteen-years-old and an aspiring writer, sees her older sister Cecilia (Keira Knightley) and Robbie Turner (James McAvoy) at the fountain in front of the family estate, she misinterprets what is happening, thus setting into motion a series of misunderstandings and a childish pique that will have lasting repercussions for all of them. Robbie is the son of a family servant toward whom the family has always been kind. They paid for his time at Cambridge and now he plans on going to medical school. After the fountain incident, Briony reads a letter intended for Cecilia and concludes that Robbie is a deviant. When her cousin Lola (Juno Temple) is raped, she tells the Police that it was Robbie she saw committing the deed.Written by
At a gathering in a country house a jealous little girl meddles in her sister's love life, and things will never be the same ...
From an interesting novel that had an engrossing first half but, for me, trailed off in the second. So I had a different experience with the film adaptation, where the country house scenes are not quite satisfying but the following war story is brilliantly told. The narrator is a fascinating little character, but looking back I think her motivation needed to be colder and her atonement more problematic. In the end the story is wrapped up with a talking head, which I guess was unavoidable but not the mark of a great movie.
The long tracking shot on the beach at Dunkirk is amazing - not only a technical marvel (the amount of ground covered, the multiple interactions) but it creates a great sense of chaos and despair.
Performances are good, and it's no wonder people raved about Ronan. The music is excellent and plays about with the rhythm of a tapping type writer. Photography too, although I didn't get the sense of oppressive heat in the first act.
Overall: interesting and impressive, but some big flaws.
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