Posted by celticman on Mon, 20 Dec 2010
Atonement (2007) for not reading Ian McEwan’s novel is watching the ‘Upstairs Downstairs’ film version. In one of the early key scenes the aristocratic Celia, Keira Knightly strips off and dives into a fountain, whilst the housekeeper’s son James McAvoy looks on. She comes out flush and practically naked, with her non swim lipstick retouched and it’s that erotic a scene that James has to look away, or he’d be accused of blighterdom. We get another eyeful when the point of view changes and 13-year-old Briony looks on at the same scene, misconstrues what’s happening and cries out in astonishment because Keira has absolutely no breasts. This being the 1930s there were no such words as transvestite or transsexual so Briony confided to her pal that somebody was a sex maniac. Later she catches her sister moving the green curtain she was wearing aside to show lower class James something he’s been missing and Briony’s suspicions are confirmed. When the two hideous ginger haired twins go missing a search party uncovers nothing much apart from one of the upper class houseguests rogering a minor. Briony’s torch slips at a pivotal moment but we see enough ginger hair to suspect it is the other houseguest that happens to be a pubescent girl. This turns out to be a piece of luck because the upper class paedophile can later marry her and thus she can’t give evidence against him. James, of course, returning with one of the other ginger’s sitting on his shoulder and holding the other child’s hand is immediately locked up. Briony’s evidence is crucial, as is Dunkirik. The former puts him in prison; the latter allows him to go walkabouts serving King and Country. I won’t spoil by telling you he dies of septicaemia whilst Briony has a jolly nice rethink of what actually happened. Kiera after being bombed and surgically enhanced dies a noble death. But then again the whole film was a bit lop-sided.