A sure-fire sign of a great book-to-film adaptation is that, after you watch the movie, you want to read (or re-read) the original book. Such is the case with Atonement.
This tragic story of how brief moments in our lives can change them irrevocably, forever, is richly layered in every aspect, from Christopher Hampton's faithful adaptation of the Ian McEwan novel to Seamus McGarvey's compelling cinematography (including a breathtaking five minute tracking shot on the shores of Dunkirk during the English evacuation) to that famous green dress (designed by Jacqueline Durran) to Dario Marianelli's distinctive, Academy Award-winning score. That all of them, as well as the film itself, were nominated for Oscars and director Joe Wright was not makes one wonder where the Academy's priorities were this awards season past.
The character of Briony -- the crux of the film's action -- is brought to life by one-two-three punch of Oscar nominee Saoirse Ronan, Romola Garai and Vanessa Redgrave. However, at the core of the film is the haunting, heart-breaking performances of James McAvoy and Keira Knightley; their passion leaps off the screen in Titanic-level proportions, their final denouement will leave you breathless.
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