One of those movies where knowing the runtime works against the film. Not because it's too long, but because it's an actual spoiler. After the first climax, about 70 minutes in, it's clear that there's still about 30 minutes of film left and sure enough, that half hour houses quite a few more twists. Surprise (but not really)!
Anna suffers from agoraphobia. Her husband and daughter have left her, she doesn't have any friends and all she ever is does is keep tabs on the neighbors. Her life changes when the Russell family moves into the house across the street. She suspects the father of abusing his wife and son, but her condition doesn't help her case.
Performances are solid and the build-up of the mystery is effective. The problem is that the reveals are rather bland and keep getting worse as the film continues. The bits of action at the end feels forced, but up until three quarters in this was a pretty solid effort from Wright. It's a shame the film slowly slips away from him after that.
Worthy but flawed
Smart. Costumes dramas tend to be targeted at women, so why not throw in some war elements to keep it more balanced. Not that it helped me much, I'm not a big fan of war cinema either. Still, Atonement wasn't all that bad, mostly thanks to the elevated styling and the lavish budget.
Briony is a young girl living in a big estate. She has a crush on the caretaker's son Robbie, but he is more interested in Briony's sister, Cecilia. Things take a turn for the worse when Briony misinterprets a fight between Cecilia and Robbie, a fluke that sets off a series of events that will change the lives of everyone involved.
The performances are decent, the sets are grand, the cinematography is neat, and the soundtrack is proper. I admit, it's borderline kitsch, but Wright gets away with it. The plot's a bit too sentimental though and the film is quite long, it's also not a very memorable film, but that's probably just because it's really not my type of film.
Pompous Peter Pan adaptation. Questionable CG, bad acting and an atrocious soundtrack (I actually felt sorry for Nirvana and I don't even like them) make this a film to avoid. That said, the wood-like animation scenes halfway through are amazing, so there's at least that.
A typical Wright film. It's definitely classier than your average costume drama, but it's still very much a costume drama. Overtly posh and British, quite slow, an overload of drama and too sentimental for its own good. I'm not a big fan of the genre and this adaptation of Pride and Prejudice did little to change my mind.
Quite a few famous actors on the cast though, with a defining role for Knightley and a well-stuffed secondary roster. While they do their best make the most of it, the format hardly allows them to make something of their characters, meaning actors like Mulligan and Reilly are pretty much wasted on this film.
The setting looks rich and the outdoor shots are pretty nice, which turned out to be the main selling point for me. That's hardly enough for a 2+ hour film of course and the second hour in particular dragged quite a bit. Fans of costume dramas are sure to find something they like here, for me there wasn't much here.