Friday, July 24, 2009

Black + White Friday: Atonement


I've had Joe Wright's Atonement on my mind a bit lately. I think it has to do with the absence of one Keira Knightly and one James McAvoy. Two actors who very quickly became two of my favourite actors from this decade, Knightley especially, although I admit to forgetting that The Duchess was only a year ago, but I didn't see Wanted and so it feels like the last time I saw their beautiful - BEAUTIFUL - faces was in this British romance drama from 2006. It's certainly a film that has solidified in my mind as one of the very best of the its year (at the time I was sure it'd head in the other direction).


You'll find that a good number of the images I took from Atonement are from the opening half. I think that it is the strongest part of the film and is some of the finest filmmaking of the decade. Not that the rest of the movie isn't, but I remain so entirely enamoured with the scenes at the estate.


I love this shot in black and white. Makes it looks quite ethereal, don't you think?


I know there's not much difference between these two shots, but I truly couldn't decide which one to use and which to ditch. So I did the truly Libran thing and floundered about before just giving up and using both. On one hand I love the look Knightley is giving in the first, on the other hand I love the shape of her neck in the second. Strange, yes, but you wouldn't have it any other way.


One of the things I think this series does is find out who has a face that would have been a star in eras past and I think Knightley passes that with flying colours. I admit to being a much bigger fan of hers than the average person, but just look at her here (and especially the last image).


I like that this shot actually feels a bit like a horror movie or Alice in Wonderland.


I chose this image for two reasons. The first is because, well, just LOOK at it would ya?! He's so handsome and this particular moment is just filled with adorable cheekiness. Secondly, I found it hard to find a good shot of McAvoy that felt especially classic.


This scene was a bit... steamy, wasn't it? Sex scenes are generally quite silly a lot of the time and not even remotely sexy. It's like, whod've thunk that two people in a movie could enjoy sex that wasn't all caresses and light pecks to the neck or whatever passes for a sex scene these days.


A creepy moment in general, but in black and white it becomes even more so. Perhaps it belongs to the same horror movie as the picture of Saoirse Ronan walking through the garden from earlier. This image actually gives me chills. And so soon after the last image. Not pleasant.


Virtually a black and white moment anyway, but becomes even more classic now.


Truly stunning. Plus, just looking at this image makes me want to well up. She devastates me.


Picture postcard. Gorgeous.

15 comments:

Matt Riviera said...

But what about THAT green dress. The absolute best thing in Atonement, imho. In black and white: it's gone!

Makes you think of what strikingly coloured garments we missed out on in those black and white classics. Like Liz Taylor in Cat on a Hot Tin Roof... what colour *was* that dress I wonder...

Colin said...

@Matt: Uhhh... but Cat on a Hot Tin Roof wasn't only filmed in colour, Liz Taylor's white dress would have stood out in black-and-white anyway. *confused*

J.D. said...

alslkkewkjrrm gerg b rbntg ngnb ekmekjmKLJ EKLMEklfijk
oiewjfmlkebiujioc l[e;evp[el vpeiojm3rfn erinefikegdoiue 8 ue8ug3engfk vfmkeklmgi jieug987 987ujK@!!KJIOE!Mlkkl;l!!!!!

That was me orgasming, sorry.

Will said...

You really should see Wanted. I am truly a film snob and I have seen almost none of the big summer movies, but Wanted was a big, stupid, fun movie. I was surprised I liked it so much since I hated Night Watch.

Oh. I am still in love with both McAvoy and Knightley. Have been since all the build up for Atonement (and since he asked her MY question during that AOL Unscripted interview). There's a lot of Knightley coming up, but not nearly enough McAvoy.

Will said...

Oh, and I've had that shot of James standing in front of the film screen as my desktop for a year.

mB said...

This is a beautiful film and the black and white treatment just makes the gorgeous cinematography stand out even more. And yes: Keira and James are scrumptious.

Encore Entertainment said...

ATONEMENT is definitely the best film of the year...Keira and James were wonderful together. They should do another film.

Guy said...

The dress is white. The film is in colour. Watch it and wonder no longer!

;)

littlemissairgap said...

I agree, both McAvoy & Knightly would have been major stars in the great Hollywood era of the 30's & 40's. Those cheek bones of hers! You needed great bone structure to pull it off big time in B & W. I think Cate Blanchett would have been a huge hit too back then ... just ike she is now.

Dame James said...

I am no Keira fan in any sense of the word, but I can definitely see what you're talking about with those shots. She's absolutely gorgeous, the bitch.

Another awesome installment, Glenn!

Glenn Dunks said...

littlemiss, We've established that Nicole Kidman would have been and you're right about Blanchett, too, I reckon (although I've never experimented with on of her films).

Matt, indeed as others have said, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof is already in colour and the dress was white. But you're right about the green dress. I'm glad we live in a world where we got to see that dress.

RC said...

I love it --- I think this is film is stunning and I think Ian McEwan's a geneous in his writing of this story, and it was adapted to film incredibly well.

The shots are beautiful, the music is smart and appropriate, and the casting is smart.

Lynden Barber said...

Didnt agree with you on the film but the black and white treatments are goregoues, very interesting exercise - helps frame the film and its stars in a new (literally) light. Were these screen captures (they dont all look like publicity stills) and how did you achieve this?

Glenn Dunks said...

Lynden, I use a program called VLC to take screen caps. No publicity shots in this series (since they are always cropped and cut and not good quality.

Lynden Barber said...

Thanks Glenn, I'll check out VLC