Monday, January 19, 2009


I just finished reading Atonement (Ian McEwan) and wow, what an amazing book. His writing is vivid and thorough. I can't imagine the kind of mind that is able to carefully plan so many details and tie them together flawlessly so that each one shares a role in the story. You never feel like he is just using gratuitous adjectives to fill space and yet the picture he paints is clear as day. I don't even remember reading words, I just have these rich images of settings and distinct characterizations. The way he gets into each characters mind and really exposes their human nature and psychology. One of the main characters is an adolescent girl and the way he gets into her thought process is astonishing considering he's an older man. As someone who was a 13 year old girl once, I believed that Briony's thoughts were truly that of a young girl and not the invention of some man. As an author, to really make your characters believable and not just write how you would react in that situation is really a feat. I'm so envious. You really have to be able to separate from yourself and let the characters stand on their own. I wish it was so simple.

I also watched the movie and I must say that it is the best adaptation from a book that I've ever seen. The book does not rely heavily on dialogue. You get a very introspective viewpoint of each character, so in bringing that to the screen, they had to have not only great actors able to express emotions without speaking, but stunning locations and brilliant cinematography. There is one scene with probably a five minute steady cam shot; no cuts. There's no dialogue, but it is one of the most stirring scenes in the movie. Overall, the movie captured the feel of the story and even though time didn't allow for them to get as in depth into all the characters, They were able to piece the plot together in a way that still conveyed the strong motivations behind each character. They could have completely butchered this book in order to make it a hollywood blockbuster, but I feel like they respectfully gave the story life without over doing it.

In short, it's my new obsession. I have to see if there's a soundtrack...

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