Joe Wright's Film Adapatation Of The Novel Atonement

1905 words - 8 pages

Denise, how she irritated me; she was the one who always had to be in control, and was always right. She seemed to always get her way. Denise was the most popular kid in my fifth grade class and everyone seemed to follow what she said. She controlled the other kids, and even the teachers. No matter what school, or age group, there is always one person that has to be in control of everything. The world revolves around them, and anything or anyone that does not agree, is not a part of their world. However, no one expects someone that is only thirteen years old to possess that kind of power over adults. I was shocked while watching Atonement to discover the amount of influence that young Briony Tallis’ actions have over the lives of the people around her. In Joe Wright’s film adaptation of the novel Atonement, Briony symbolizes control.
Briony is established as a symbol of control in the beginning of the film by the arrangement of the toy animals, and her act of beating nettles. In the very first scene of the movie, the audience see's a neatly ordered parade of animals lined up past a model of the Tallis estate. The animals are arranged in a neat, ordered line, leading to Briony as she sits at her desk typing the end of her play. This scene takes place in Briony's room, and the animals undoubtedly have been arranged by her. The animals are representations of the characters in Briony’s fictitious world, but they are also representative of real people who are in Briony’s life. Everything in Briony's life is orderly, just as the line of animals. The animals are facing her since she is the controller of their fate; this mirrors the adoration that every other character shows Briony at the beginning of the film as she is going to unveil her play. Later, when Briony finds the letter from the twins, there are toy animals scattered across the bed. Briony’s perfect world is beginning to fall apart. The animals, as representations of characters, are scattered and disorganized, a sign that Briony’s peaceful world is coming apart. These toy animals are symbolic representations of Lola and the twins, since their refusal to bend to Briony's wishes is the root of the chaos that has befallen her world. At this point in the film, she has witnessed the scene between Cecilia and Robbie at the fountain, and comes to the conclusion that she must right the wrongs, and bring order to the chaos that has penetrated her world. In the scene where Briony delivers Robbie's explicit letter to Cecilia, Briony completely ignores Cecilia and instead enthusiastically greets her brother Leon. If Briony had been truly concerned for her sister, she would not have ignored her as she did. Instead, Briony purposefully ignores Cecilia, as she contemplates a way to bend events back into her favor. As everyone is getting ready to go to dinner, we see Briony in a field beating nettles with a switch. The entire background of the scene is out of focus, and the only clear portions of the shot...

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