A Slice of Fried Gold

Well, I Did It

Sunday, February 10, 2008

James McAvoy and Keira Knightley in Atonement

For the first time that I can recall, I've seen all five Best Picture nominees before the Oscars. Over this past weekend, I wrapped it up by catching Atonement on Saturday afternoon and Michael Clayton today (for the latter I'll have to thank Bittorrents). I have them all downloaded so I can rewatch them before hand as well, but after one view each at least, I've come to a decision as to which is my favorite and which I want to win. And boy...it is surprising, even to me.

My favorite movie of 2007, and the film I hope wins the Best Picture award...is Atonement.

After sitting down and really thinking about it, even in the face of Daniel Day-Lewis' tour de force performance in There Will Be Blood, in the face of the grit and intensity of the Coen Brothers' No Country for Old Men, in the face of wonder child and current It girl Ellen Page's Juno, and in the face of the moral depth and importance of Michael Clayton, Atonement simply stands above the rest.

It's the only of the five that had me saying "Wow. Wow." after I left the theater. No Country and There Will Be Blood did to a certain degree, but mostly aspects of them. Atonement is the proverbial total package, telling a beautiful story of a love stifled by a lie, a life haunted by a childhood mistake, and the need for human beings to find atonement for what they've done in their lives. Performances are superb all around, with James McAvoy being robbed of a nomination and only wunderkind Saoirse Ronan pulling in a nomination for her role as the thirteen year old Briony Tallis.

Two things in particular made Atonement spectacular: the character of Briony Tallis and Dario Marianelli's score. The former is played by three actresses (Ronan, Romola Garai, and Vanessa Redgrave) and the three of them manage to make Tallis one of the most interesting characters of recent memory, while also making you feel for her even in spite of what she does to the star crossed couple. As for the score, its one of the most beautiful and inventive scores of recent memory, and it works amazingly well within the film and as a stand alone piece.

All of this, and I don't even like period dramas. I normally find them boring and too prim and proper. I'm much more of a crime guy, typically favoring the No Country for Old Men's of the world. However, sometimes its pretty hard to ignore the greatness of something...even if it isn't typically your style.


Anonymous said...

Everyone love a "love story".

Post a Comment