There has ever been speculation about William Shakespeare. Did he exist? Was he a single playwright or several over a period of time? Or was he someone else altogether? Anonymous tells one version of this story; in this case, that it was the Earl of Oxford (Rhys Irfans), a member of nobility who could not participate in the low arts due to his high status. And there are all other kinds of suggestions about children born out-of-wedlock to Queen Elizabeth (Vanessa Redgrave and, when younger, her daughter, Joely Richardson) and other scandals.
I have no idea about whether any of the information presented was at all factual and, quite honestly, I don’t care. It’s a great yarn, true or not. It’s got all of the sleazy backstabbing and nastiness that a good tale should have – and it’s funny through all the drama. Oh, and the costumes. Oh my.
Anonymous was nominated for an Oscar for Best Achievement in Costume Design.
Cecil Gaines (Forest Whitaker) was a butler at the White House under eight different presidents during over many years of the civil rights movement.
What I enjoyed about this film was the journey of Cecil’s son, Louis (David Oyelowo) through the Freedom Riders, with Martin Luther King Jnr, into the Black Panther movement and beyond. It was a well told story, with the structure of the interactions with the presidents to show the way things didn’t change at the same time that everything changed. Still, you do need to suspend your belief a lot – it is a big ask to have a film span such a long time and have the same actors. Both Forest Whitaker and Oprah Winfrey looked far too old for their young years, though the aging of the other actors was more effective. The story is strong enough to beat those flaws.
The Butler was nominated for BAFTAs for Best Supporting Actor (Oprah Winfrey) and Best Make Up/Hair.
Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise) is an agent working for a secret spy organisation, but when one of their missions goes haywire leaving several of his colleagues dead, he is suspected to be a traitor. It is up to him to clear his name – and the only way to do this is a ridiculous and exciting break in to the pentagon to steal a computer file from an office with the most insane series of security protocol. And lots of exciting stuff happens – including a helicopter flying in the channel tunnel attached to the train. Crazy and awesome.
This is a great action film with everything you could ever want in an action film. Intrigue, excitement, explosions, the odd bit of humour and, of course, Tom Cruise. He’s a great action hero (just don’t bother with Jack Reacher), especially when he runs. I love Tom Cruise running.
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.