‘Atonement’ – Nothing Doing

Tonight I watched Atonement, thinking it would be an excuse to let my vagina get some air and my eyes some natural lubricant.  It did neither.

I saw Joe Wright’s take on Pride and Prejudice in Maltin’s class at SC.  I thought to myself, “This guy has no idea how to use a camera.”  Well, that’s still true.  I guess he’s good with actors, but…  Seriously, why all the love for this flick?  Atonement starts out well enough, and it does a good job of setting up the unreliable narrator, but everything after the first act is a major snooze fest.  

The achronological storytelling is done just to be achronological, not because it adds anything.  It jumps because going in order would mean there would be no story.  But wait, I’ve spoken too soon.  There is no story.  You have this great inciting incident, and as a setup it could be potentially fantastic.  But the rest of the movie is practically a documentary.  We just follow people, but there’s no real conflict.  We watch people do what they do, but in the end they don’t have goals or dilemmas.  The end reveal seemingly invalidates what little is there.

I went on Rotten Tomatoes to see what the critics thought, and it’s all love.  I used to be a big Peter Travers fan, but then our tastes diverged a bit.  Lately I’ve been agreeing with him more, but his praise for this movie makes me think we’re still pretty dissimilar.

I’m sick right now, and stuffed up, and not up to 100%.  I’m perfectly willing to admit that that might be the reason I didn’t enjoy the movie at all.  But seriously, is there a story?  I’ll give it up for the acting, but no one DOES anything.

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