Atonement A Successful Text Has Multiple Ways Of Shaping Our Understanding

1298 words - 6 pages

The trend in the global film industry todays seems to revolve around the justification of a plotline through historical accuracy and facts. While there are still many successful films that so not reflect the actual facts and events, they all have multiple ways of shaping the audience’s understanding throughout the text. Film Atonement, directed by Joe Wright in 2007 is a successful text that clearly conveys the idea of the film; the power of words and storytelling through the use of characters, settings and themes. As this film is based on Ian McEwan’s masterpiece published in 2001, it was challenging for Wright to direct. However, he successfully shaped our understanding in order to tell the significant theme including the power of words, social class and the loss of identity.

Perhaps the most immediate way of shaping the understanding created by Wright is the use of sound. Wright conveys the narrative not through dialogue, not through acting, but through soundtrack. The begging of the film is memorable, the sound of typewriter is the only sound that the audience catches. The first sound is made by Briony, a protagonist of the story. The rhythm of the typewriter recues throughout the entire first scene of the film, sometimes buried underneath emphatic and swilling strings and piano, but always the sound of the typewriter move between the non-diegetic and diegetic modes, flowing easy from the soundtrack to the sound of the typewriter in Briony’s bedroom. Every scene where Briony’s perspective overwhelms the film itself. Guillermo Del Toro once insightfully observed that, “the look of a movie is a table of four legs. One is of cinematography, but the other three are wardrobe, set production design and direction”. T is true that the emotion in the movie stands on acting, music editing and dialogue. When one falters the emotional is diminished. Wright seamlessly ties in all of there elements to the emotional act at the scenes, one of the perfect example is in the opening scene, when the camera follows the animals figures lined up by Briony. The figures are beautifully lined up, reminding how animals enter the ship in the Noah’s Arc. It conveys Briony enjoys controlling and manipulation over others. Later, this is clearly explained when Briony sees Robbie, a son of maid and Cecilia, Briony’s older sister by the fountain. Here, Briony imagines what has happened to Cecilia just by watching for a little while, which eventually leads to a big interpretation. By showing Briony’s gift of imagining and creating stories, it shapes the audience’s understanding of the story. Also, the sound of typewriter which represents Briony’s lies is one of the significant techniques utilise by Wright. When Briony accuses Robbie for raping Lola, Briony’s cousin, by saying “I saw him. I saw him with my own eyes”, the sound of typewriter arrives in the background. Hence, the audience understands that Briony is a storyteller who tells untruth. For a 13 year old immature...

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