Thursday, 25 September 2014

Visual & Sound Diary: Atonement (2007)

Visual & Sound Diary is a weekly feature where I explore a chosen film of distinctive cinematography and musical composition via the score, soundtrack and stills. This is how it works: click play on the link supplied of the selected music and scroll through the images. Be reminded and inspired of the cinematic splendour. 
Note: the last shot is my pick for the best shot.

Joe Wright is one of the finest, most understated contemporary directors currently working. Atonement is surely the prolific film-makers crowning achievement, among a rich (although short) resumé of flawless period dramas. The film boasts one of the most affecting scores of this decade by Italian composer Dario Marianelli. The ingenious masterstroke of the score is its symbolic correspondence with story elements - the integration of typewriter noises and the strong voices of an army chorus. The moving compositions of the war sequences are breathtakingly elegant. In particular is the streamlined 4-minute shot of the British invasion of Dunkirk. Presented in this shot is the greatest treasure of the score: the elaborate, melancholias Elegy for Dunkirk (featured below) - an epic and chilling musical arrangement. 

Each frame of the film is beautifully saturated without ever looking forged or synthetic - the colour contrasts are appropriately dazzling, the cinematography most distinct in its range. Many of the iconic images from the film, the fountain, the room, the lake and the typewriter are featured below. The film is structured in a most intriguing manner, the first half occurring in real time over the course of one day. The second half of the feature examines the resounding impact the events occurring on that one day have on the rest of their lives.  It's a story of a young girl's imagination, the thin line between realities and dreams, of consequences, remorse, of war, of lust and pride and above all, a desire for Atonement. 

Shooting Location: The UK - Redcar, Streatham Hill, south London, Stokesay Court & Grimsby 


Drop thy still dews of quietness,
Till all our strivings cease;
Take from our souls the strain and stress.
And let our ordered lives confess
The beauty of thy peace.

Breathe though the heats of our desire
Thy coolness and thy balm;
Let sense be dumb, let flesh retire;
Speak through the earthquake, wind, and fire,
O still small voice of calm


  1. Great post! I loved this film (and Keira's green dress!) I thought it was brilliant how they made the type writer part of the score.

    1. Thank you! So glad to hear that and of course, that dress is an icon in its own right. Couldn't agree more - Marianelli is one clever composer!

  2. I wasn't a big fan of this movie, but it certainly was gorgeous to look at. Great post.

    1. That's a shame. I guess the film isn't for everyone. But aesthetically pleasing to all eyes! Thanks Wendell :)

  3. Another great post! The look and overall production design of this movie is remarkable. I love to marvel at it.

    1. Thanks Alex! I've seen this film so many times and the look of it never fails to impress.