Atonement was made in 2007. The cast includes famous faces such as ; Keira Knightly and James Macavoy. The story begins in England pre- second world war. Briony Tallis (Saoirise Ronan) wrongly accuses Cecilia’s (Knightly) lover Robbie Turner (Macovoy) of an awful crime which he did not commit…..rape! Completely misjudging the situation and misinterpreting what she saw, she jumps to the wrong conclusions telling her parents. Robbie is swiftly arrested.Robbie is sent to prison and serves 4 years, he is released on one condition…that he joins the army.
Time keeps flitting backwards and forwards and we see a far rougher looking Robbie serving in the “Great war” he seems a very changed man suffering from the reality of the horrors of war. He reminisces of a happier time and remembers the incident which caused him to have to leave the country.He continues to write to her through all of this declaring his love for her, Cecilia is torn. In almost a daze Robbie thinks he has seen Cecilia walking down a street. A woman finds him in a bad state and shows him kindness, the first he has probably seen in years.
Briony is now 18 and played by Romola Garai, an actress who I cannot decide whether I like her or not, her slight ‘over-acting’ irritated me in Emma, however, she is far better in this. Briony realises the serious damage she has done and writes to Cecilia begging her for forgiveness. Her attempts at contacting her sister go unanswered (un-surprisingly) as Cecilia will always blame her for Robbie’s imprisonment. Instead she goes to ask for forgiveness in person but Cecilia will barely speak to her. Robbie is also in Cecilia’s company is understandably furious however the 3 manage to talk. Robbie tells her that she must write to her parents explaining that she lied. Briony reveals that the rapist was in fact a family friend who was an adult at the time of rape.
Later Robbie who is wounded and very ill arrives at the beaches of Dunkirk where he has to wait to be evacuated he dies there of septicemia and Cecilia also meets a tragic end in the Blitz. Many year later Briony has written a novel confessing everything but changing the ending to a far happier one.
All the cast are fantastic in their starring roles and then film received 7 Academy award nominations for “Best picture” At the time it dominated Empire film awards in London. Atonement won “Best British film” , Keira Knightly and James MacAvoy (not surprisingly) received best actor and actress. It was also named “Best Film” at the BAFTA awards.
Saoirise Ronan was great as a young Briony. She was a character that you really wanted to hate but then tries to redeem herself by becoming a nurse and training wounded soldiers (now played by Romola Gari)
Why watch the film?
The film is well worth a watch as it is a beautifully made, wonderfully engaging drama which is guaranteed have you super glued to your chair the whole way through!