Atonement is a cinematic masterpiece and I'm not just saying that because it's one of my favorite films of all time. Joe Wright is an exciting and innovative director whose talents were in peak form on this film with a great assist from the visionary work of cinematographer Seamus McGarvey. Both were able to craft such a lush vision of the film whose performances, screenplay, and other aspects were also top-notch. I can literally go on and on about how much I love everything about this film.
But the mission for the day is to pick my best shot and in a film I adore full of gorgeous shots, it's a task I took quite seriously. The first "shot" that came to mind is the wonderful Dunkirk tracking sequence which I previously talked about as being one of my favorite film scenes ever. Its bravura technical work for cast and crew and would be a no-brainer pick for anyone.
And then I thought about the wonderful and, in retrospect, heartbreaking reunion of Cecilia and Robbie at the cafe after being separated for years. This move was an acting showcase, especially for Keira Knightley and James McAvoy, and it was in full display here as they both are practically choking over various emotions of love, lust, pain, longing and regret.
In the end, I chose the emotional climax of that earlier Dunkirk sequence as Robbie's emotions finally get the best of him.
He's beyond exhausted and seeing this display of love on screen haunts him as the memories of his all-too-brief love affair with Cecilia haunts him daily. The shot itself is just so evocative especially the way the film screen dwarfs this hunched and defeated figure. Earlier today, I actually posted a series of shots from the film showing McAvoy's Robbie framed by doors throughout the film thinking that maybe it was meant to symbolize how confined he is to his tragic situation. And while this shot is not of Robbie framed by a door, he certainly looks just as trapped.