As soon as the Oscar nominations came out yesterday (more on that later), "Atonement" jumped to the top of my list. I figured this was inevitable. As soon as I saw the previews, I figured this was a big juicy glob of Oscar bait. And I guess it worked.
So I went straight to the local cinema right after work and caught this. And for the first 15 minutes or so, I was dreaming up dirty Oscar-bait puns I could use in this write-up. "Oscarbation"..."Oscarbatory"..."Oscar-baiting in my face".... But then it actually became a pretty good movie. Good acting, engaging story, clever editing, a surprising twist at the end, and a horrors-of-war-scene featuring a Ferris wheel? Okay, I don't quite get that one. There are a few dashes of pretension (the dream sequence). But all in all I came out thinking it was a strong, thoughtful, interesting movie.
And then this morning I was thinking about it some more and realized (warning, here be minor spoilers!) Did it actually make the case that if you do something horrible and ruin the lives of two people you really care about, it's okay as long as you write a novel about it 60 years after the fact? Or is the title ironic--there are actually some betrayals so terrible that there is no hope for atonement?