Monday, January 28

atonement on film


C was a good sport and went to see "Atonement" with me late on Friday night. He admitted that it wasn't half-bad. I admit that, too. I wanted to see it because it's directed by the same people who did the most recent "Pride and Prejudice"---the aesthetics of which I swoon over. So I had to read the book because I can't stand seeing a movie without reading the book, first. (You can read a book and then see the movie, no problem. But doing the opposite is never a real option.) I didn't love the book or the movie---not necessarily a style of writing or storyline that speaks to me---but as was expected, I did like the cinematography. That Seamus McGarvey is something.

These are a few of my favorite film stills from a beautiful scene where Cecelia (Keira Knightley) is preparing herself for the evening. It was filmed almost entirely through reflections and into windowlight, which makes you feel a bit like you're peeking into her sunlit dressing room, uninvited. It was beautiful in a secretive and intimate and airy way.

Seamus McGarvey gives away how he lit this film, and that very large-scale, uninterrupted Steadicam shot of Dunkirk in this interview.

p.s. I know everyone loves the green dress, but I'm partial to the outfit she wears in the opening scene: the feminine, deconstructed ease of a flowery thin blouse and high-waisted skirt with an unexpected pattern. Also noteworthy are her bathing suit and Lola's smart ensemble.

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10 comments:

Catherine said...

I have read this book so many times, I really enjoy it, I think because it is so different and quite disconnected in a way. I loved the way the film looked and I love James McAvoy, very gorgeous as is Kiera Knightly, but for some reason the movie just didn't happen for me, it was good but not amazing. I agree tho, that first outfit she wears is so floaty and dreamy! Love to be that willowy!

Chelsea said...

I have to admit that I really disliked the new Pride and Prejudice with Keira Nightley. These shots, however, are amazing. And it looks like I need to see this one merely for the costumes.

aimee heff said...

We say this too and I thought it was just ok. Best Picture nominee, though?? I think not. There were elements to the cinematography that were truly beautiful and the segment with her getting ready was very sexy.

pia said...

oh yeah, these shots are awesome. great post, very informative yet pretty and enticing at the same time. that's my bold review.

michelle said...

Oh wow, I wanna see this soo much, but my O would never be game, I have heard about this dress! I know if you like it, it will be beautiful.

lane said...

You have such an ingenious way of thinking about and talking about aesthetics. I'm always so mired in narrative, I sometimes forget that films should see SEEN as much, or more than felt or read.

Jane Flanagan said...

I love Ian McEwan in general and this book in particular (though not as much as I loved Enduring Love). I haven't seen this movie but am curious about it. Enduring Love didn't translate well to screen at all. And there's nothing more heartbreaking than seeing a story you loved reading rendered poorly in film.

laceyJ. said...

So so pretty... can't wait to see the movie.

sunny said...

I did love this movie but haven't read the book. I intend to now!

Sometimes I see a film and find out there's a book, and I always enjoy reading the book with the visuals of the film in mind. (I'm a visual person so having the images in mind helps me enjoy the book so much more!)

I often will read a book, see the film, then read the book again with these new images in mind. :)

I agree with lane about you reminding us that films should be seen and experienced! I should do that more often.

VDOprincess said...

I rather loved this film even more than expected--I was looking forward to the cinematography, but I'm not a Knightley fan. That said, I'm with you on the clothes; the green dress was lovely, but I think my favorite was that halterneck dress she changed into just before her brother arrived.

Side note: James McAvoy is delicious and adorable.