Atonement (2007) Film Review


I remember the start of Kiera Knightly’s career. In Bend it like Beckham, she was the young and adorable thing. Then in Pirates of the Carribean she had a bit of fight in her – there was some humour, and I especially enjoyed the flirtiness between her character and the marvellous Captain Jack Sparrow. But since then, every performance of hers I’ve seen makes me cringe. It’s the pout more than anything; plus the fact that when she smiles, she appears to be in pain. I was hoping for more in Atonement, but was sorely let down. She pouted more than ever and talked so fast I could barely understand her. Terrible.

Atonement tells the story of Briony Tallis, as young child who witnesses several events and connects them together in, what appears to her to be a logical manner, with dire results.

I read the book by Ian McEwan years ago and so knew the story, and I think that the film would be far better if the plot was a surprise. I also really enjoyed the book, and that can be so problematic when watching film translations. I must re-read it now, because it felt that there was not enough content to maintain the film for the full 123 minutes, and given that it is not a short book, it seems odd.

The film is beautifully filmed, especially the extremely long single camera shot along the beach in France as the soldiers wait to be evacuated. James McAvoy is great, as usual, and the young actress Saoirse Ronan was deserving of her Oscar nomination. Just a shame about Knightly.

Atonement won the Oscar for Best Achievement in Music Written for Motion Pictures, Original Score and was nominated for Oscars for Best Motion Picture of the Year, Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role (Saorise Ronan), Best Writing, Adapted Screenplay, Best Achievement in Cinematography, Best Achievement in Art Direction and Best Acheievement in Costume Design. It won the Golden Globes for Best Motion Picture- Drama and Best Original Score, as well as a heap of nominations for Golden Globes in other areas.

London Boulevard (2010) Film Review


With a plot vaguely reminiscent of The Bodyguard (1992), London Boulevard has Colin Farrell playing Mitchel, an ex-con hired to protect celebrity actress Charlotte (Keira Knightley). They fall in love to the backdrop of foul-mouthed paparazzi, foul-mouthed criminals and foul-mouthed police.

There is a lot of swearing in this film. It all felt natural for the world that they are occupying, but gee, there is an awful lot of it. What didn’t feel natural was the relationship between Mitchel and Charlotte. No chemistry at all. I don’t know if it was simply the acting or if it was poorly scripted, or bad direction. All I know is that I didn’t see any spark between them, which is fairly crucial to the plot. It kind of felt as though it was a romance/drama that should have been aimed at a female audience, but then there was so much bad language and drama that it was actually aimed at a male audience. Hmm, I’m not overly happy with saying that in general, women prefer the romance and men prefer the violence, but I’m not sure that I’m being sexist so much as gender stereotyping. What do you think?

Incidentally, this trailer makes it look quirky and funny. It’s not.