In the stead of my large leather-bound volume, I have this small plastic-bound laptop, and in the stead of a good Dickensian novel I thought I’d pop a video into the drive. Which I did, it wasn’t something I was looking forward to mind you, it’s been lying around the house for a month and came in with a batch of other stuff (a friend was video-purging).
Until tonight I haven’t been able to bring myself to look at it; this was for two reasons:
1#,- because it has a pretentious sounding title, and
2#,- because it bears the supernaturally insipid face of Kiera Knightly on the cover; staring into the distance with her dead eyes.
My expectations were not high, and so I was only pleased and delighted to discover that this fillum was actually excellent. I was moved. Now I should say that I have absolutely no difficulty at all being moved by fillim: one time my phone rang and the conversation went as follows;
Are you okay?- You sound ‘in bits’…
I’m okay, it’s just that she died… and now the House.
It’s THEIR house! They fixed it up together!
What? Who died?
She died and they never took their trip, and she never had a baby…
Oh for fecks sake!- what film are you watchin’ now?
This thing called ‘UP’ ; it’s only on ten minutes, animated thing;
I thought it’d be a laugh, but I don’t think I can watch anymore…
There’s something wrong with you- d’you know that?
And now the bastards want to take his house!
Okay, so, I’ll tell you what I’ll ring later…
It’s HIS House: the bastards!
You’re a fool. You need help.
Any way, where was I? Oh yes, I was moved, but then again I often am ( ‘cause I’m a big eejit really). So how else will I describe it? Okay.
Poetry is a word that’s passed around like a cheap harlot from discipline to discipline*: “His music is ‘poetry’”, “her painting is ‘poetry’”, “That time I rode yer wan in the back field…’twas pure ‘poetry’ I’m tellin’ yeh!”.
Poor oul’ ‘poetry’ gets shoe-horned in there time and time again so:- it’s worth stating that, when I use the word ‘poetry’ to describe this film,I use the actual word.
Not that the film is a poem, it couldn’t be. (Unless it consisted of carefully chosen words in a line whose rhythm and sounds have been extremely cleverly constructed to create a specific effect).
But the way that scenes and particularly, sounds blend together and fold back upon each other is extremely satisfying, and does remind me of poetry in the way that the way a poem is constructed, and each word ‘meets’ another, is far more important than any narrative.
This film has a narrative, (it’s based on a novel), but a lot of it has been constructed poetically and musically.
A lot of the soundtrack consists of music made from pertinent sounds, the clack of a typewriter, and the thumping of a stick on a car bonnet, a rifleshot. They are sound effects that occur in the action and then become music.
I couldn’t watch too many films made like this, I’m sure that the technique would lose its charm. But I thought that this was great. Completely unexpected.
Oh yeah: It's called 'Atonement'.
So it goes straight to the top of the ‘films with Kiera Knightly in ‘em’ chart, she didn’t ruin it but she wasn’t the main character as the cover suggested so maybe that was why.
Do you think that Tom Waits? Do you think maybe perhaps Jeremy Irons?
Have you ever wondered whether if perhaps Kenny Rogers Kiera,
Best answer wins a prize. I won’t judge the winner meself,
I’ll let Wilson Pickett.