The Atonement Movie Review

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Directed by Joe Wright, basing on a bestseller book by Ian McEwan. The 2007 British romantic and war drama film-The Atonement is for both movie enthusiasts and adventurous. The film stars include McAvoy, Knightley, Ronan, Garai, and Redgrave. While the "Atonement" is not suitable for persons who like profound war events betrayal and love scene, it has excellent cinematography, transitions between times and shows high expertise in filmmaking.

Plot Summary

This English drama movie trails the exciting lives of lovers Robbie Turner and Cecilia Tallis. When the two lovers are torn apart by the deceptions fabricated by Bryony, Cecilia's younger and jealous sister, all the three must deal with the consequences. Bryony's deceptions culminate into the imprisonment of Robbie for rape. Robbie is later released from jail and joins the British Army to fight against the Nazis in France during which he sustains injuries. The narrative then shifts to Bryony who is guilty about the previous deception. She did not earn any forgiveness from Cecilia and Robbie. We later learn that the story is not entirely truthful and that Cecilia and Robbie did not reunite after all.

Strengths of the Movie

How the story unfolds is apparently something that is uncommon, specifically in what is a period film. The atonement movie features strong performances especially from Bryony who represents the character of a betrayer. During the World War II, Robbie engages the Nazis while fighting for the British army. The author vividly describes graphic scenes to show the effects of the war both in property destruction, injuries to victims, and deaths.

Watching the Atonement, one is quickly blown away by the cinematography. Given the plot, it is evident that the movie was not easy to make. However, Joe Wright did a commendable job by creating a sophisticated film with great visuals, colors, angles, lightings, and perspectives. The movie not only depicted the actor's emotions but also portrayed the tense environment during the war, the powerful feelings of love and hate, and the unfortunate incidents that led to the betrayal of Robbie by Bryony.

With the extensive time periods and settings for the film, it is incredible to recognize how elegant and natural the filming seems. The movie not only captured the mood of an affluent 1930s household by emphasizing on the happenings at the time but also skillfully used robust graphics integrated with strong acting and music to succinctly convey its message.

Weaknesses of the Movie

While bearing many features of classic period drama, the move has some content that would undoubtedly offend sensitive viewers. There are several instances of foul language uttered by some actors. There are also a few sexually charged scenes that may be traumatic for children and victims of sexual abuse. A harsher critic might point out that the dialogue seems anachronistic with inconsistent storylines and slow pacing that focuses mostly on talk rather than action. However, there is very minimal to fault the film regarding technical expertise.


While the Atonement is an excellent depiction of Joe Wright and Ian McEwan skills in integrating romance, war, and drama, viewers who do not expect intense war actions, betrayals, passionate love and battle sequences might be disappointed. The film is best suited for audiences who cherish strong dramatic performances and intense scenes between characters.


Wright, J. (Director). (2007). Atonement [Motion Picture].

November 24, 2023




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