Lauren Stemp 08/09/2007
This is a very beautiful film and it has moments of spectacular splendour, sensual eroticism and gut wrenching pain however I do not agree with all the fawning that the critics are piling upon this film, I think this is a result of starvation due to the lack of sweepingly beautiful epics in recent times.
Saying that the film is one of the best of the year, it's a grown up film that doesn't treat its audience like a bunch of proletariat/plebs, yet it has flaws; it is too long and the story becomes stretched towards the end as a result and yet the ending feels rushed too, Keira Knightley will get an Oscar nomination but it still doesn't mean she's a great actress however she is far better here than in any other film I have seen her in, her posh tones are perfect for the character of Celia. Still she is a bit of a plank and here her limits as an actress are all too clear for people to see, especially in a film of this calibre being surrounded by far better actors than Orlando Bland. The rising superstar James McAvoy has the problem of being the “perfect gentleman, the good guy wronged” and though he is as good as expected his performance is workmanlike in fact out of all the cast it is the actress Saoirse Ronan (young Briony) who steals the film from the more experienced cast, she deserves much praise.
The unfolding drama is well directed by Joe Wright and the story is extremely riveting, the tension caused by the miscommunication of events and the final revelation (though not completely successfully conveyed) all add up to make a pretty damn good film and you have to respect the bravado of a director and cast willing to attempt to transfer something so explosive on the page up onto the screen.
It's an interesting film, an ambitious film and a flawed film that will gain much praise even if that praise is a little over the top and verging on sycophantic.