The scenes are great. It is setted in a rambling old British country. Heavy clouds are gathering on the horizon, which lends a special poignancy to the domestic comings and goings. Cars rolling up the drive; whispers of scandal and family secrets; coitus interruptus in the library, all set to the implacable rhythm of typewriter keys. In the first section of the film, some decent, suspenseful fun, a rush of incident and implication.
“Atonement” piously rendered by the screenwriter Christopher Hampton from Ian McEwan’s novel. (I really want to read the origianl work.) I think the movie may not express all the meaning. There are too much handsomely shot and Britishly acted. “Atonement” is a classical example of how pointless, how diminishing, the transmutation of literature into film can be. The respect that Mr Hampton show to Mr McEwan is no doubt gratifying to him, but it is fatal to their own project.