Sunday, February 24, 2008

Best Movies of 2007: True Fiction

Because the month of January sucked at running, I boycotted the sport, and placed my allegiances squarely with Hollywood, for whom January is a font of delicious goodness, like one of those chocolate fountains you'll see at wedding receptions and the occasional Sweet Sixteen. With the Oscars TONIGHT, I complete my journey through the Best Movies of 2007...

Keira Knightley was as beautiful as advertised. James McAvoy, less so. But would the filmmaking in Joe Wright's 2nd period drama in as many attempts be as beautiful as advertised?

ATONEMENT, dir. Joe Wright

Sadly, I just can't afford too much time on this one because bjw is hassling me to go run.

Atonement left me with mixed feelings, but don't get me wrong: really, really strong movie, and I really liked it. But in a year where I just saw good movie after good movie, Atonement completed my run through the major talking points of the season, and I was left wanting a little more bang for my buck. 2007 had terrific depth, but honestly, in 10 years how many of these films will still be discussed? How many of them will be must-have's for the old DVD collection?

Atonement may have come closest to that status, thanks in large part to an absolutely wonderful score that is great to listen to, but which also comments and even contributes to the plot. It's really an impressive achievement. But the picture, overall, is a neat little riff on post-modernism, while reveling in noteworthy performances and lavish production design... but it's not quite overwhelming cinema. Clever, creative, well-crafted, and definitely deserving of should-see status. And Joe Wright has definitely established himself as someone to keep an eye on with Pride and Prejudice and now Atonement. But in a year of really good movie after really good movie, I couldn't help but wish that Atonement made the jump into the stratosphere of the absolute greats.

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