Few films offer the kind of intensity that Atonement offers. Without a single car chase or death defying stunt the film, set in WWII era England, draws you in. Then just when you least expect it, Atonement punches you just as you are expecting a happy ending.
Keira Knightley stars as Cecilia, a wealthy young woman from a good family who is playing hard to get from the smitten Robbie (James McAvoy), the son of the family’s groundskeeper. But Cecilia’s thirteen-year old sister Briony has a knack for the dramatic. When she happens to see the flirtations between her older sister and Robbie she misinterprets them for something sinister. When a young cousin is sexually assaulted in a field Briony points the finger at Robbie.
Based on the Ian McEwan book of the same name, Atonement is beautifully shot and acted. Director Joe Wright sets a quick pace that’s intense and demanding. Even when you think you see the light at the end of the tunnel and have the story all figured out there’s a left turn to surprise. Atonement keeps you guessing when you didn’t even know there was a mystery.