James McAvoy and Keira Knightley heat up the small screen as lovers in the most tragic of love stories. Set against the backdrop of World War II, the Joe Wright directed film possesses the feel of the classic period pieces while still maintaining the reality of the 20th century warfare at its heart. McAvoy is a find. As his "Penelope" costars extolled his performance in that film, the talent range he has set forth thus far in his career is impressive. His quiet and haunting turn as a man wrongly accused of a crime that sends him to jail - only to be freed to fight on the front lines - is one for the ages. Wright has painted a beautiful spectrum of cinematic colors in "Atonement." It is vast and lush and its cinematography Oscar nominations were all well deserved. By taking a beloved novel and bringing it to the screen, Wright could have been setting himself up for the preverbal fan disappointment. But he has triumphed with "Atonement" and brings out the best from his stellar cast.
The bonus features on the DVD provide an insight into the creation process for a film that is equally a romance and sweeping war epic. The documentary "Bringing the Past to Life: The Making of "Atonement" is one of the better behind-the-scenes chronicles of an Oscar nominated film thus far. Deleted scenes are always a mixed bag. On one hand, it is fascinating to witness scenes that never saw the light of day. But, on the other, when glimpsing a scene that ended up on the cutting room floor that is fantastic, it serves as a tease for what could have been. "Atonement" is more of the former. "From Novel to Screen: Adapting a Classic" allow those who have such passion for the novel to bear witness to the process of how creative people from all walks of life have to come together to put forth the vision of one author.
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