Atonement - Power of Imagination

Topics: Imagination, Demonstration, Light Pages: 6 (2224 words) Published: August 24, 2012
Analyze how verbal AND visual features of a text (or texts) you have studied are used to give audiences a strong idea.

Theme: Power of imagination

Joe Wright’s film Atonement is the story told through the eyes of main protagonist Briony Tallis. The story centers on her attempts to wash away her guilt and find atonement for her actions that began with a lie that ruined the lives and happiness of her beloved sister, Cecilia, and her sister’s lover, Robbie. Her actions forever changed the course of not only their lives but also her own. These actions were the outcome of mere overactive imagination of a young girl, which is a central theme, which dictates the entire sequence of events, which follow in this film. Her overactive imagination has a far greater power than she can comprehend. At this point in the film Briony is a victim of her own naivety, in which her imagination can lapse into overdrive, leaving her hung and obsessed with her egotistic ideas? This obsession leaves Briony in a state of mind that overwhelms all logic and questions, leaving no room for anyone else’s side of the story and it is not until later on in the film that she realizes she has made a mistake and begins to full apprehend the gravity of her crime. Throughout the film a distorted reality is established, as the film follows brionys account of the events, which are written in her novel. Her imagination results in the ruining of many lives, and in the conclusion of the film it is also the final way briony is able to find peace in her lifelong quest to atone for the sinful acts she committed, therefore demonstrating the key theme of the power of imagination. The director effectively utilizes an array of visual and oral text features such as dialogue, lighting, costuming and sound to convey this main message.

The beginning scene of the film opens with the camera trained on Briony as she sits at her desk writing on her typewriter This image sets the foundation for the rest of the film, primarily demonstrating to the audience the she is the storyteller of the film and also suggesting that she has a fondness for the writing and telling of stories. The sound of the typewriter which are firstly heard in this scene are continued throughout the entire film, becoming louder and more distinguished as her imagination becomes more than just an innocent childhood pastime. At first Briony merely weaves innocent childhood stories, we see her constructing a play. As the day’s events unfold, she witnesses many events, which she does not posses the maturity to understand and yet she believes she does. A innocent mistaken sexual note ends up in her hands which she misinterprets and thus when following that walks in on a sexual act which occurs between Robbie, the man responsible for the letter and her older sister Cecelia, her imaginative mind develops a story placing Robbie in the mistaken role of rapist. The disappearance of her two younger cousins, the search that entails and Briony finding her older cousin Lola after being raped confirms in her mind that Robbie is to blame. As this is occurring the typewriter sound begins to become louder and louder as these events are witnessed, demonstrating that Brionys thoughts are becoming to big that they are clouding her judgment and making her talent of storytelling into a destructive tool, one that will have a profound effect on the lives of Robbie, Cecelia and ultimately her own. Therefore sound is a key oral technique, which is used throughout the film to demonstrate the theme of the power of the imagination.

A visual technique, which we can see, used throughout the entire film and one which has a great effect in the development of the idea of the power of the imagination is lighting. The lighting used shows many changes as the story Briony's weaves develops and as the film progresses many lighting changes can be witnessed. The lighting in the beginning of the film is bright and hazy, it creates...
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