Tuesday, December 1, 2009


Dir: Joe Wright, 2007 (8.9*)
Best Picture (British AA)
Best Drama Picture (GG)

[Updated 12/01/09 with the awards link]
This British war romance, based on an Ian McEwan novel, is one of the best recent films in the classic romantic novel tradition, and reminds me of Jane Austen and Edith Wharton. Keira Knightly and James McAvoy star as the lovers, who grew up together on the same estate, but from different social classes. There's also a bit of sibling rivalry going on with Keira's little sister, brilliantly played by young Saiorse Ronan, who was rewarded with an Oscar® nomination for supporting actress. However, it's Vanessa Redgrave who takes your breath away with a five minute scene; this was short but worthy of award nominations, she was so incredible (she was nominated by one critics group). The long tracking scene at Dunkirk that follows three soldiers for about a mile is one of the most unforgettable war images on film. Also received Oscar® nominations for picture, director, art direction, costume design, screenplay, and won an Oscar® for music.

Update: Atonement went on to win 23 awards with another 67 nominations worldwide. Young Saiorse Ronan (Briony at 13) was terrific, and got several nominations for supporting or actress or newcomer. The awards page at IMDB


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These are the individual film reviews of what I'm considering the best 1000 dvds available, whether they are films, miniseries, or live concerts. Rather than rush out all 1000 at once, I'm doing them over time to allow inclusion of new releases - in fact, 2008 has the most of any year so far, 30 titles in all; that was a very good year for films, one of the best ever.

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