Wright wouldn't recognize unobtrusive if it tapped him on the nose--he's cross- pollinated the first half of Atonement into an Oscar-buzzy brew of Masterpiece Theatre and "Upstairs, Downstairs," with the wild English countryside tamed into an artfully lit fairy glade, and into just enough of a bodice-ripper to reel in the youth market. And not a bad one at that.
What are people saying?
What are critics saying?
You have to admire it, when so much of the competition seems inane and slack, but you can’t help wondering, with some impatience, what happened to its heart.
No two-hour film could ever capture all the riches of McEwan's masterly novel. But Wright and Hampton's Atonement comes tantalizingly close, while adding sensual delights all its own.
Atonement works reasonably well as a tragic romance, but that sting is dulled. As a book, it was a blow to the head; as a movie, it’s an adaptation of a book.
Rarely has a book sprung so vividly to life, but also worked so enthrallingly in pure movie terms, as with Atonement, Brit helmer Joe Wright’s smart, dazzlingly upholstered adaptation of Ian McEwan’s celebrated 2001 novel.
Atonement is effective at getting under the skin, and some audience members won't like that.
In the end -- an ending of such power and narrative originality (in both book and movie) that those who know it ought never breathe a word to those who don't.
Hampton and Wright have been more than sensible when it comes to Atonement. They’ve responded intuitively to a tale that is half art and half potboiler, like so many stories worth telling.
Nothing in Joe Wright's screen version of Ian McEwan's dense, internalized 2001 novel of secrets and lies should really work, but damn near everything does. It's some kind of miracle. Written, directed and acted to perfection, Atonement sweeps you up on waves of humor, heartbreak and ravishing romance.