Atonement film essay

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Even if the storyline is one we have heard before, a text can always be made new and refreshing if its creators use effective or original production techniques.

Joe Wright’s film Atonement is an excellent example of how even if a storyline is one we have heard before, a text can make it new and refreshing. The film is essentially a love story, but Wright creates interest through playing with the ideas of perspective, time and happy endings. By doing so he refreshes an overused storyline, making it an original twist on an otherwise clichéd story. In the film, the perspective someone has on various events are shown to greatly contrast. An example of this is an argument between two of the film’s key characters, Cecelia and Robbie, at the beginning of the film. This argument is in fact shown twice in a row, once through the perspective of Cecelia’s younger sister Briony, and again close to the action. In Briony’s view, she observes through an upstairs window of their manor house an argument that she perceives to be full of sexual tension. She can hear none of what is being said, apart from Robbie sharply shouting “wait!”. Her inability to fully understand the argument meant that the little she could see, led to her making wildly inaccurate conclusions as to what the argument was about. She assumes Robbie shouting is out of anger, and that the tension between Robbie and Cecelia is solely imposed by him. This is shown to be wrong when the scene is shown a second time, with this time showing that the argument was over something trivial, and the sexual tension was triggered by both Cecelia and Robbie. Because she had a skewed perspective, Briony gets an idea that causes many problems later in the film. By using these differing perspectives, Wright therefore forces us to consider what we are and aren’t shown in other films of the same genre. In most love stories, conflicts arise (and are resolved) in the course of the film. In his film, however, Wright shows how...
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