Saturday, October 4

Look Ma, No Hooves

It's a good thing I read Atonement before I watched Atonement. If I'd watched the movie version first, I might not have bothered finishing it. Or I would have finished it and sat there with a huge "huh?!" on my face.

I like intellectual films, but I prefer not having to think too hard. I'm there to be entertained, not to entertain myself. (I suppose that's lazy consumerism, but there you have it.)

Anyway - Atonement. Ian McEwan's novel allows you to form an attachment to his characters - either you like them at first read, or you hate them with a passion. I'm not sure if it's his goal to make us dislike the idealistic, self-righteous, stuck-up protagonist, but I hated her at first read.

It's a pretty simple story. Boy likes girl, sister gets jealous. Boy gives girl randy letter, is stupid enough to ask sister to give letter to girl. Sister reads randy letter, finds an excuse to blame boy for something he didn't commit. Boy and girl don't end up together. Flash-forward to ten years later, boy and girl hate girl's sister. Girl's sister feels bad. Writes novel. Calls it Atonement.

If Ian McEwan didn't have the way he has with words, it would've been akin to a Dick and Jane book. As it is, he writes like a poet. Flowery, verbose, highfalutin. It makes the novel a haunting expose. A haunting expose that actually makes its way onto the silver screen pretty much intact; the movie is astonishingly faithful to the book, which was a pleasant surprise for me. It's a worthwhile movie and James McAvoy is in it.

Everytime I see James McAvoy I get reminded of Mr. Tumnus in the first Narnia movie (he played the faun). I keep wondering when I'll overcome that particular aspect. He was such a badass in Wanted, but I kept seeing goat feet and the fur on his chest.